As soon as you reach the villa from a stretch of unpaved road, children will want to disappear into the garden – they’ll find a hammock, ping pong table and trampoline, as well as a sauna and pool on the top terrace. Adult guests may drift towards pretty spots to sit, read or eat, with views to the lake and its islands. Lavender and rosemary scents the air, and the evening sun reaches the poolside loungers – it’s a lovely place for families or groups of friends to holiday together. Inside the immensely thick walls, originally the base of a tower, it’s cool in summer and cosy in winter, tucked up by the big stone fireplace. On the lake below, there’s kite-surfing, water-skiing and boat hire, and traditional rowing boat racing in summer. For medieval piazzas or basilicas, Perugia and Assisi are under an hour; so too is Arezzo, with a huge antique market once a month. Leonardo and Barbara will be in a little cottage just below the villa for your first and maybe last day, but then leave you in peace – quiz them while you can about food festivals, cookery classes and restaurants in lakeside Passignano.