The local area is a delight for food and wine enthusiasts, for lovers of art and history and for those who enjoy an outdoor life in spectacular countryside.

The famous wine-growing area of Montalcino is literally minutes away with numerous vineyards competing to offer you samples of their produce. Montepulciano, with its famed Vino Nobile, and the upcoming Montecucco area are within easy reach.

For foodies there is Pienza the centre of Pecorino production, San Giovanni d”Asso with its truffle festival, or the edible chestnut festival at Arcidosso. There are numerous restaurants, pizzerie, trattorie and gelaterie in the local towns.

For lovers of culture, there is an embarrassment of riches from which to choose. The Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore with its frescos by Sodoma and Signorelli is on our doorstep. The famous historic cities of Siena (30 minutes), Perugia (80 minutes,) Orvieto, Florence (both 90 minutes), Assisi, Pisa and Lucca (all around two hours) are within easy reach.

The area abounds with small hill towns which are full of character and their own proud traditions, many with excellent museums funded by the bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena before it hit the rocks. The famous Palio of Siena is mirrored in other less celebrated races and competitions between the various contrade (districts) of towns – such as the Giostra del Saracino (the Saracen Joust) of Arezzo, dating from the 16th century, or the less well-known Giostra di Simone in the tiny town of Montisi. The area is rich in Etruscan history with excellent museums in Volterra and, although much smaller, in Murlo.

The local countryside is renowned for its beauty. It is a great environment in which to cycle, ride a horse, walk or play golf (there is a world class course – Castiglion del Bosco – a few miles away). For those in need of pampering there are spas at Bagno Vignoni (on the site of old Roman baths) and at Chianciano Terme.

The local town of Buonconvento is charming and welcoming and has everything on hand – good restaurants and bars, good food shops and excellent local craftsmen, among them a leatherwork shop – ‘La Dolce Vita’ – where you can have bags or shoes made to your specifications. The town also has a rail station with direct lines to Siena, Florence and Pisa.