Squeeze your car along the narrow road to this farm, framed by fig trees, olive groves, vines, acacia and chestnut woods on a steeply terraced hillside near Barga, uphill from Ponte di Catagnana. Self-catering apartments with wood stoves, no TV and spectacular views sleep up to four, and the local baker, Maurizio, drives by each morning with fresh bread, pastries and scrumptious focaccia.
But the real reason to stay here is get acquainted with charismatic owner Francesca, a talented chef and beekeeper. With her you can visit the apiary with 100 hives beneath cherry trees, see how honey is extracted (Easter to September), sign up for a cooking course or olive-oil workshop, or help out with the olive harvest (by hand) in late November. In summer guests can swim, mountain bike, barbecue, play table tennis, help themselves to veg and herbs in the vegetable patch, pet the farm donkey Geubi, and collect fresh eggs. Or mingle, memorably so, with other guests at Francesca's wonderfully informal 'pizza parties' around the farm's old stone bread oven. No credit cards.