Elisa, a real people person greets you warmly. This is quiet Tuscan countryside and you can hike and bike straight from your door into a nature reserve teeming with wildlife; take a gentle two kilometre amble to an ancient monastery or walk across meadows to the bakers for fresh bread each morning.
The split-level apartments (three in the house where Elisa lives with her children) and two stand-alone barns in the grounds are surprisingly sleek and light-drenched. Each apartment has its own outdoor space with easy furniture so pour yourself a drink and fire up the barbecue.
You could spend your entire holiday exploring Siena’s (six kilometres) architectural delights: the Torre del Mangia 14th-century tower and Gothic Duomo are a couple of highlights. You’re spoilt for good restaurants and cafes too. Back at Casale there’s a dinky ‘dipping’ pool – handy for cooling off after a busy day pounding Siena’s streets.