The entrance, across rough-mown grass, softens you for the impact of the sun-dappled courtyard. Once arrived, you know this is the very essence of special. Ilaria, whose commitment to doing things sensitively is catching, laid the paving stones herself. The entrance doors are handsome, solid – paint peeling. Inside there are engaging and surprising touches of authenticity and art everywhere. Rooms are simple, pretty, delightful – all with the hand of Ilaria whose personality is also stamped firmly on the verdant garden. The village is half-ruined, an engaging hotch-potch of old buildings at the top of a rough road high in these beautiful hills, chestnut forests all around. Ilaria, gentle, smiling and endlessly generous, is bringing new life to Quarazzana and new vitality to the concept of ‘special’. Roll up your sleeves for cooking courses (there are lots on offer), or to tuck into home-grown treats. Children will love Ciuffo the donkey, a sweet playmate. You may not want to stray beyond the house, but do for the coast is not far and the walks are beautiful.