We stayed the night in Pinerolo, a beautiful spot outside Turin, nestled into the foothills of the Alps.

Would we be sleeping in the hay? Would we manage the ladder after a bottle of the local red wine?

In fact, we were taken to a lovely room with two bathrooms, a little sitting room and a kitchenette. Our landlord apologised for the cold and for the fact that he couldn’t do breakfast for us. Instead, we were given a lift to the local pizzeria where no-one spoke English — and the food was outstanding!

Rural charm