Up the winding road, into the wooded hills, to find, at the end of the track, a quirky and enchanting haven. Imagine an exuberant garden, a glassy pool, and, in warm mellow stone, a handsome house reached by an outdoor stair and a one-up, one-down cottage. Bought as a ruin in 1976, Il Giardino comes with 12 hectares. You won’t meet the owners – delightful, aesthetic, well-travelled – but their passions and personality pervade the place. The main sitting room, warmly inviting with low beams, yellow walls and wonky floors, is brimful of books, gay fabrics and treasures from travels, and a great rustic fireplace for winter. Lofty kitchen shelves heave with books and crockery, as an antique Alsace stove glows in one corner. Visit the lovely towns of Tuscany and Umbria (you’re on the border of both). Return to pretty, cosy, colourful bedrooms, with baths and hand-held showers. Outside is an oasis bursting with plants, trees and secret paths through bushes and hedges to hammocks and patios, a glassy pool that reflects the sky, an orchard where Indian mirrors swing in the breeze. All ages will be enchanted.