Close to the sophisticated delights of Bologna, Parma and Modena is a beautiful cluster of 17th-century buildings, home to three generations of the Crotti family who produce award-winning balsamic vinegar. The three B&B rooms (reached via a turreted stairway) and apartment for four, which has a small, top-notch kitchen for rustling up meals, are all deeply peaceful – shuttered windows gaze out to the gardens – and super stylish with original art, antique furniture and beautifully dressed beds. You breakfast in the beamed and open fire’d room that doubles as the tasting room for the vinegar tours (a must while you’re here) on home baked goodies, eggs from the hens, fruit, yoghurt, strong coffee. You’ll need a car to make the most of the area but foodies will be delighted by the gastronomic offerings: wine, Parma ham, Parmesan cheese and more; and Cristina will happily advise. The gardens are stunning all year and there is a pool for guests use but you should really come in May when the rose gardens are particularly spectacular.