For a stunning setting and fabulous food, you can't go wrong with Castel Monastero, a converted medieval hamlet deep in the Tuscan hills.

Romantically moody rooms and suites are set around the central piazza - where a traditional-style market sets up in the morning selling charcuterie, olive oils and truffles - or dotted nearby in original village buildings.

Amble down to the spa, where celeb favourite Dr Ali can set you back in balance, or take the 20-minute drive to Siena to see the huge Piazza del Campo and explore its pedestrianised centre.

Just make sure that you are back in time - and leave plenty of room - for dinner at the Contrada restaurant. When your meal begins with an explanation of the different olive oils provided with your bread, you know that you are in for something special.

Wow factor: The food - with Gordon Ramsay in charge of menus that feature the freshest Italian ingredients, it's perfect.

Flight time: Two hours to Pisa.

Go: Citalia ( offers four nights B&B from £880 per person, including flights, one lunch and an online-booking discount.