Designed by Russell Page and inspired by the Moorish gardens of Spain’s Alhambra, La Mortella is recognised as one of Italy’s finest botanical gardens and is well worth a couple of hours of your time. Stroll among terraces, pools, palms, fountains and more than 1000 rare and exotic plants from all over the world. The lower section of the garden is humid and tropical, while the upper level features Mediterranean plants.

This veritable Eden was established by the late British composer Sir William Walton and his Argentine wife, Susana (who died in March 2010, aged 83), who made it their home in 1949, entertaining such venerable house guests as Sir Laurence Olivier, Maria Callas and Charlie Chaplin. Walton's life is commemorated in a small museum and his music wafts over the loudspeakers at the elegant cafe. There are classical-music concerts here in spring and autumn.