In the heart of Canelli, on the top of a hill, with views swooping over the town and the Piedmontese countryside, is the 12-centuries-old former residence of Augustinian friars, attached to the Church of San Rocco. Villa del Borgo Relais is one of our favourite places; not only is the restoration enchanting but the warmly enthusiastic owner, Patrizia, runs an exemplary team. Sleek Italian design combines with a palette of greiges that soothe the soul and delight the eye, and new life has been injected into every historic detail, from the brick vaulted cellars to the wood panelled ceilings to the monks’ original larder. Relax in the shade of the gardens, bask by the trapezoidal pool. Trundle up the street to Gancia Castle, famous for spumante; skip down for shops, restaurants and a flutter of Michelin stars. The hotel rents electric bikes for local exploring, and the hammam and sauna are included in the price. Bedrooms and suites exude discreet luxury with their immaculate wood floors, deep beds and fine velvets and linens. Some come with balconies, two have fireplaces, all are blessed with light and space.