Are you in a Fitzgerald novel, a guest at some expat’s ridiculously lush estate? From the vast botanical garden on the shores of Lake Maggiore, where islands hover on the glistening water and the Alps stand protectively in the distance, you will feel at total peace with the world. The changing light mischievously catches rare species of plant, flower and tree in moods you would not think possible, in supernatural shades. What luck that GianLuca decided to convert the stables in the grounds of his elegant 1900s villa into a large and stylish B&B. Now the WWF-protected acres of rare plants and trees, which he still tends and adds to so passionately, are yours to explore; with lonely benches, pebble beaches and shady patches inviting you to unwind; we defy you to read a book without being distracted by the beauty – or to not swim in the cool waters of the lake the moment you see their enticing ripples. While GianLuca is away, his staff are on hand for breakfasts and conversation. Lunch in the nearby village of Cerro or picnic in the grounds, it’s so big you can stay here all day and not see another soul.