Alexis and Susanna fell in love with this lakeside setting at first glimpse and it’s easy to see why. Sheltered in the foothills, hugged by woodland, with only chirruping birds to break the silence and Lake Mezzola a stone’s throw from the house; it’s all rather magical. Caretakers Gianluca and Silvia meet you nearby and escort you in a convoy; the road is windy and narrow and the driveway steep and bumpy – if you don’t have a 4×4 you can park at the top and hop in theirs for the last short drive to the house. The 150-year-old property was derelict but the owners have carefully revived it using local stone and reclaimed beams. A handmade kitchen and huge oak dining table in the vaulted cellar invite you to gather for convivial meals. You’ll sleep deeply in view-filled bedrooms spread out over two floors; one is a bunkroom for kids, the largest has a veranda. The garden and woods are yours to roam; there’s comfy seating, a barbecue and a steep scramble down to the lake for private swimming and fishing. Gianluca can leave logs for a fire so you can stop late if you fancy. A delightful place for groups who have no desire to be in the thick of it; you’re a car drive or boat ride from restaurants and shops.