Pian del Colombaio is within easy reach on first class roads of many attractions, including the wonderful cities of Florence, Siena and Rome.

Within walking distance of the house are paddling places in the rocky shallows of the River Orcia, and nearby are the natural hot springs of Bagno Vignoni, Petriolo and Saturnia. Petriolo’s thermal pools along the banks of the River Farma have been used since Roman times, and are the closest to the house.

Less than an hour’s easy drive to the west are the excellent beaches and rocky coves around Castiglione della Pescaia and the magnificent Maremma National Park, whose vast acreage stretches from the sea inland and incorporates a wide spectrum of Mediterranean flora and fauna. It’s also possible to go horse riding on the beach at Grosseto.

The Val d’Orcia region extends from the hills south of Siena to Monte Amiata. It is a natural setting of extraordinary beauty characterised by gentle, carefully cultivated hills occasionally broken by gullies and by picturesque towns and villages, such as Montalcino, Pienza and Montepulciano. Famous for architecture, wine, olive oil, honey, cheese or art, each has its own personality and charm, and even the smallest unspoilt town is likely to hold an artistic masterpiece.

Monte Amiata, the second highest volcano in Italy, dominates the landscape of Southern Tuscany. Beech and chestnut trees cover the lower slopes, and the higher slopes are covered with old growth forests that are spectacularly coloured in the autumn and make the mountain extremely popular among hikers. Both the flora and fauna of these forests are unusually diverse, with a number of endemic species. Even wolves were present until the end of the second world war. There is a now an excellent Parco Faunistico with marked paths that guide the visitor through the various habitats of the mountain. In the winter the trails turn into 15 ski runs with 12.5 miles of piste, which makes Amiata a perfect weekend break location. It can be reached in less than an hour from the house.

The area is rich in Etruscan remains, with particularly famous ruins at Roselle and Vetulonia. Roselle (Rusallae) was originally surrounded by a wall three kilometres long and one metre high (using piled blocks of stone), in the 6th century B.C. Nowadays you can still find remains of this ancient wall plus paved roads, cisterns, and canals from the time of the Etruscan settlement.

Seen from the house beyond the river are the vineyards which produce the world famous Brunello wines and all round the property are the newer wines from Montecucco DOC – younger and arguably as good. It’s possible to do wine tastings at many of the local producers’ cantinas, and places like Castello Banfi run excellent Brunello tastings.