What a lovely place. You can hardly make out a building behind the great swathe of creepers, climbers, roses and geraniums that smother La Traversina, a delightful old farmhouse, set on a thickly wooded hillside near Stazzano, that has belonged to Rosanna Varese's family for 300 years or so. Shuttered windows peek out through the foliage and look down on rows of potted plants, cats sleeping in the sun, and flowers everywhere. In the garden there is a small, inviting swimming pool, surrounded by more trees, flowering shrubs and roses (180 varieties, plus 50 varieties of irises and 70 of hostas). In the lovely garden, best in late May, there are plenty of spots to find some shade and relax with a book.

  Rosanna (formerly an architect) and Domenico warn visitors what to expect on their website, so no one is left in any doubt. Do you love dogs and cats? Do you mind not smoking in the bedrooms? Do you mind no television in the bedrooms (there are plenty of books and magazines)? And last, but not least, would you enjoy eating together with us and other guests in the evening? If the answers are yes, then La Traversina is for you. The hosts are warm and welcoming, bedrooms are homely and attractive, and Rosanna's home cooking, eaten on the terrace or in the conservatory, is superb.

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