Alvaro, a plant genetic expert who once studied at Kew, lives with his father in a 400-year-old mansion, its noble walls lined with ancestors. The furniture is exquisite, the kitchen dates back centuries, the breakfasts are tasty, and Alvaro’s impeccable English makes a tour a joy. Close to the ring road on the outskirts of town (some traffic noise), the house’s abandoned air gives it a romantic appeal – you’ll not forget your first sighting from the end of the drive. There’s a sitting room for guests with much-loved sofas, a billiard room with toys and TV, and a rustic kitchen-breakfast room with a walk-in chimney (Alvaro loves to cook on open fires). Then there are the grounds, unkempt and atmospheric, dotted with flowers, fountains and ancient trees, with an old washing pool in the courtyard and a swimming pool by the orchard. Trot into Lima for markets and ‘feiras’: the Old Town is a ten-minute stroll. Return to majestic bedrooms (not very well heated: summer’s best) and a first-floor veranda that faces south, good for a pre-dinner snooze.