Castello di Strassoldo, at the heart of a medieval hamlet, is historic, covered in ivy, bounded by parkland and spring-water trout streams and has been affectionately nicknamed the 'water castle'. While we don't usually include self-catering accommodation, we simply had to recommend this one.
  There are a cluster of buildings including a tower, a church and an old rice mill. The upper and lower castles have been inhabited by the Strassoldo family for more than a thousand years, while adjoining buildings have recently been converted into elegant guest houses. If you are happy to self cater, the former guards' houses and the former administrative court are available as fully independent little cottages, while the rice mill offers four large bedrooms and the ancient tower offers two vast suites, with breakfast served on the ground floor of the rice mill, or in the garden during summer.
  In the tower and the cottages, you'll be hard pressed to find a piece of furniture that isn't an antique. The furniture of the rice mill bedrooms is hand painted by local artisans. Rooms are huge, with wooden floors and solid beams. Some have beautifully untouched stone walls. Despite being relatively Spartan, the suites have well chosen coloured upholstery, and one of the bathrooms boasts a Devon and Devon bathtub. Each room of the rice mill is painted a different colour.
  On the weekend before Easter and on the second to last weekend of October, both the upper and lower castles of Strassoldo open their doors to the public to showcase the work of local antiquarians, artisans, artists and horticulturists. Guests, who get a champagne reception on arrival, describe it as 'a beacon of old time civilization and treatment'.