This part of the Langhe is delightfully off-the-beaten-track and those with an adventurous spirit will be well rewarded by steeper hills, more isolated villages and a lasting impression of ancient cultures. In the tiny hilltop village (one shop) of Sale San Giovanni balconies overflow with geraniums, lazy cats stroll around, and your eye is drawn to distant views of the Alps. You stay in the former vicarage on the quaint square; owners Tim and Liz cleverly maintained original features like the graniglia tiled floors and part of a fresco while adding all the modern comforts you need. Downstairs there’s a comfy sitting room with sofas arranged in front of a open fire, shelves stuffed with books and board games and a dining table large enough for everyone to gather. There’s a homely feel with family photos, art and sculptures dotted about. The big country-chic kitchen and pantry are off here. Bedrooms (one downstairs, the rest up) are view-filled and prettily furnished with flea market finds and patterned bedspreads. All three bathrooms are spacious. Sporting activities, seaside and sightseeing are all easy peasy from here.