Hidden away in one of the quietest pockets of Umbria - Tuscany's less crowded neighbour - lies the divine Palazzo Terranova. Reached via a dusty hillside path, this romantic hideaway has just eight rooms and suites, each individually decorated with antique furniture, four-poster beds and roll-top baths.

The setting is one of the best in Italy, with views stretching for miles. Owned by a Russian billionaire and run by a wonderful team of locals, it attracts a down-to-earth crowd of fashionistas, celebrities and honeymooners who love the mix of laid-back style and stunning surroundings.

Sip chilled prosecco on the front lawn, relax on a lounger by the infinity pool, enjoy massages in the small spa and dine on butter-soft buffalo mozzarella prepared by the hotel's enigmatic chef.

Wow factor: The drive from the main road is challenging, but you are rewarded when you arrive by the views across the valley and mountains to Monte Amiata.

Flight time: Two hours.

Go: Chic Retreats (020 7307 2797; chicretreats.com) offers doubles from £185 B&B. Easyjet (0871 244 2366; easyjet.com)
flies to Pisa from £52.65 return.