You will be up bright and early; not for enthusiastic sight-seeing but to make the most of Debora’s sumptuous breakfasts. She’s up at 5.30am to bake the cakes and pastries that accompany a feast of cured meats, cheeses, fresh breads and fruit purées. Anything left over is spread out for tea to welcome guests home after a day exploring Ferrara’s medieval charms and castle, or cycling (bikes to borrow) the Po countryside. Tucked inside the city’s walls on a narrow cobbled street, the house is in a row of ancient dusky-pink brick buildings. Rooms (two on the ground floor, four upstairs) surround a shrub-filled inner courtyard, pretty in pink with a soothing marble and bronze fountain; lovely for summer breakfasts or a quiet read. Useful, too, as it’s a tight squeeze inside. Homely bedrooms, with open rafters, are traditionally furnished with darkly gleaming parquet flooring, solid wood beds and bright splashes of colour in the curtains and bedspreads. Lamps, books, lace cloths and tiny desks add a homely touch. Bathrooms are big and spotless. Debora and her son Mattia, both passionate and energetic, look after everyone like family.