Simon & Jane, Auckland, New Zealand

The location and grounds (a labour of love for Gilly, garden designer and author) are also stunning. The house sits in a terraced garden on a hill sloping down to a lake, with covered outside courtyard and barbeque, above a large pool. The house is a short drive to Anghiari, medieval walled-town (and source of supplies), and within easy day-trip (or less) of Sansepolcro, Arezzo, Siena, etc. Perhaps more than anything, what made the stay were our hosts, Dennis and Gilly. They are charming, interesting and kind. Their advice on everything from bread, to supermarkets, to restaurants, to local sights was invaluable - and provided without any sense of intrusiveness. We are already planning our next trip. If you are thinking of travelling to Tuscany, don't hesitate - Borghetto Calcinaia is a fabulous place to stay and great base for exploring a wonderful part of the world.