With jasmine climbing up the ochre-tinted façades and a garden crammed with rare peonies and old roses, and chickens scratching around the feet of Jersey cows, this bucolic Piedmont idyll, owned by the New York-based photographer Oberto Gili, is a sanctuary from the outside world. “Working farms when they are thriving and well tended are my idea of happiness,” he says in his and Marella Caracciolo Chia’s book For the Love of Italy. Visitors can enjoy this farm, with rooms to rent in an atmospheric outbuilding, not just for the comforts it offers – wonderful food and local wines – but also as an experience of genuine rural life. Tel: +39 057 826 8146.
Best For Sightseeing PAESTUM
One of the Mediterranean’s most important but least visited Classical sites, this ancient Graeco-Roman city south of Naples is most beautiful in May when the plains are carpeted in yellow broom and wild flowers. The pillars and pediments are wreathed with butterflies and fluorescent lizards doing press-ups on the sun-baked stone. In Roman times it was the heart of a buoyant perfume industry centred on its scented red roses, but its civilisation foundered and the roses became extinct. Lunch under a shady arbour in the gardens of Ristorante Nettuno ( www.ristorantenettuno.com), overlooking the ruins, is heavenly after a morning spent sightseeing.