If the thought of climbing into an antique bed, in a stately palazzo, in a beautifully preserved medieval Tuscan hill town appeals… And if the idea of the gentle input of cultured, engaging hosts who love to prepare and share local recipes, and wines, pleases you too – then spend time here. It’s another world: informal, un-rushed, full of fascinating history, rather than designer styling. You arrive via the narrow stone road to Montalcino’s famous fortress; down a tunnel to the courtyard at the centre of an extraordinary, multi-level maze of a home full of family furniture and art. Bedrooms have fine terracotta flooring, tall windows; historic headboards lord it over good mattress and edged white linen. Bathrooms are small and quirky, practical, not posh. Restoration work is underway with hidden frescos being uncovered. There are two contrasting dining spaces: one bright with a modern feel; the other beneath the brickwork cellar arches. Unpredictably, the sitting room’s low, orange leather chairs, sleek grey couch and green cube-stools are cool. Step out to churches, more noble palaces, charming shops and eateries.