The hills immediately surrounding Florence are dotted with beautiful properties surrounded by a landscape that belies the fact that only a few kilometres separate them from the chaotic city centre. The Bulleri family have lived in their restored farmhouse set in rambling grounds on a south-facing hillside at Marignolle for some years, but it was only in the summer of 2000 that they opened their converted outbuildings to guests. On our visit, sun was pouring in through the picture windows of the large,bright living/breakfast room where comfortable armchairs and sofas, an open fire and an honesty bar encourage one to linger.

  Bedrooms, while varying in shape and size, are all decorated along the same tasteful lines: stylish country fabrics, padded bed heads, pristine white paintwork and dark parquet floors. The gleaming white bathrooms have large walk-in showers and double basins. Electric kettles (unusual for Italy) and a selection of Antinori wines are supplied in each room. The Bulleris are enthusiastic hosts and will arrange wine tasting tours, golf, shopping trips or even cookery lessons in Signora Bulleri's own kitchen