We bought the house in 2002 after looking in the area for a year or more. It was much bigger than we had planned but we felt it was very special. We then spent the best part of the next two years bringing it back to its former glory and putting in additional bathrooms; a new dining room and kitchen and the swimming pool.

It was finished by early 2004 and we have been letting it privately since then. We have furnished it with Italian antique and period furniture. The four poster bed was actually designed for the house. The art works, however, are from all over the world and reflect our travels and eclectic taste.

We arrange our time at the house around the lettings. There are one or two personal things out but mostly we keep these in three rooms that we keep private.

There is a small team who look after the house – Anna is on call for any problems that arise; Carla is the cleaner and bakes the bread and cantucci; Alberto, her husband, is the gardener and handyman, Danielli cleans the pool (and studies law).

John Reading