Overlooking a wooded valley with the river Chiusella rushing below is a castle (abandoned for decades) that has been impeccably renovated by its owners. Accompanied by their two friendly hounds they embrace you enthusiastically, tell you the history and show you around. Santino’s decorative skills suit the antiquity of the building to perfection: impressive antiques, splashes of modernity and fabrics in warm hues. Books, paintings, art magazines: all are yours to enjoy, along with a fire that smoulders from October to May. Upstairs are three suites with vast panoramas, as grand as can be. ‘Battista’ comes with a regally canopied bed, an antique chandelier, and two doors: one to the bathroom and pantry (coffees, teas, minibar), the other to the bedroom and study. ‘Arieti’, beneath great chunky rafters, sleeps a family of four in true splendour. Then there’s the garden, all rare plants, statues, fountains, and six amphoras for nesting sparrows. You breakfast out here – sumptuously – in summer. A fairy tale place run by the loveliest people, and if you’re lucky Santino’s daughter will play the grand piano.