A small slice of heaven for outdoorsy types: you stay on the Castello di Antognolla estate with its medieval castle, 600-hectare nature reserve, 18-hole golf course and hiking/biking trails. The architect, who owns the adjoining house (you share the pool), has carefully revived this solid 1600s farmhouse and cottage. Inside is deliciously peaceful with rich fabrics, rustic brick floors and beamed ceilings. Bedrooms are beautifully furnished with good art and windows framed in antique lace have colourful potted geraniums on the sills. Bathrooms are prettily tiled and gleaming. The open-plan kitchen/diner/living room is a lovely space to hang out with a corner fireplace, tapestry wall hanging, books, games and iPod dock. Lavender, rosemary and roses run riot in the garden, you can whip up meals and eat under the vine-covered pergolas or the very good restaurant on the estate will deliver if you fancy a night off. Paul, who lives nearby, meets you and can arrange activities or just lets you get on with lounging around in the infinity pool and soaking up the valley views. Lush.