Along a dirt road that winds its way through the vineyards south of Gaiole you enter a hamlet of mellow stone houses linked by grass paths and shaded by ilexes. The cypress trees rustle, the cicadas hum, a gentle breeze plays in the heat; arrive to perfect peace and a breathtaking panorama across vine-braided hills. Gabriele meets and greets and is charming and helpful. There are five apartments here, in rustic buildings that were peasant dwellings centuries ago. Two have loggias, three are ideal for families, and guests with a big celebration in mind often take the lot. Little kitchens are well kitted out, living areas are cosy (wood-burners, comfy sofas) and ‘Quercia’ is bliss for a couple, with its country-pretty décor and its hammock for a ravishing view. Note that shower rooms are mostly without windows but fittings are tip-top. For restaurants there’s Lecchi, for food shops, Pianella (4km) and for sightseeing… where to start? Gaiole, Radda, Siena… this is the land of Chianti Classico and you’re in the very heart of it.