The perfect Tuscan villa? 6 beds, pool, and just over £300,000

A quite astonishing opportunity has arisen for those looking for an Italian getaway.This glorious property in Tuscany seems to have it all: beautiful inside and out, with plenty of space for guests to relax and enjoy the Italian countryside.
And it is on the market for just €350,000 – that’s just a shade over £300,000 – via
The property in the village in Sestino has been sympathetically restored by the current owners, with existing stone features retained wherever possible throughout the 2,500 sq ft.

The large kitchen features a French window leading out onto the backyard overlooking the valley, and letting you bring

Five stunning properties for sale by the sea

A dose of invigorating sea air is, and will always be, just the ticket.
Bembridge, Isle of Wight, £2.75 million
This charming property, Swains House, has one of the very best sea views in the renowned sailing village of Bembridge, at the eastern tip of the Isle of Wight, overlooking the English Channel. With eight bedrooms, three bathrooms, a games room, direct beach access, mature gardens (2 acres), including a bowling green, and within walking distance of the village, you’ll want to stay here all summer.Biles & Co (01983 872 335)

Kirkbean, Dumfries and Galloway, £1.45 million
A handsome, Adam-style Georgian house set

Two middle-aged ladies, one beautiful Fiat, and a magical week in Umbria

Mary Miers teamed up with an old friend as she visited one of Italy’s most enchanting regions.In 1976, I had a school table head who so terrified me that, for a whole term, I dreaded mealtimes, ate little and uttered scarcely a word. Little could I have imagined that, 40 years later, we’d be eating our way round central Italy together: two middle-aged women barrelling along in a Fiat Cinquecento on a cultural tour of Umbria.
‘Ah, we Italians, we love you English Ladies in Lavender,’ purred the Avis manager as he escorted us to our silver Audi. But no! We

From King Hussein’s curtains to this beautiful Wiltshire interior

The interior of Stephanie Dunning’s Wiltshire house has a feel that gives no clue to the huge programme of restoration and rebuilding that has taken place as Giles Kime found out.Stephanie Dunning started her career working in property development, but moved into interior design when she was asked to make curtains for the London office of King Hussein of Jordan.
The experience she gained making detailed technical drawings in her previous career remains the starting point of all her projects, which range from Georgian townhouses to a villa on Lake Como. Her business is based in a barn in rural Wiltshire

My favourite painting: Michael Hulls

‘It’s painting not as an object to hang on a wall, but the wall itself.’The Seventh Scene, Villa dei Misterei (the Villa of Mysteries), about 50BC, 7ft by 7ft, Pompeii, Italy
Michael Hulls says:
This is painting as a 360° immersive, intoxicating theatrical experience, commemorating an arcane ritual of female initiation that we cannot fully understand and, as such, it sets my imagination racing to fill in the gaps. The pervasive, powerful eroticism of the inexplicit is matched by the sumptuous sensual colour scheme of the fleshy tones, yellowy golds and greens contrasted against the imperial purples and deep, rich Pompeiian reds.

One of the world’s most famous trees has fallen down – but here’s six more that haven’t

The famous California tree which has allowed generations of tourists to walk through its centre has fallen down at last.Sad news came out of California early on Tuesday morning: a fierce storm at the weekend toppled the famous giant sequoia with a tunnel running through the centre.
The annual storm known as the Pineapple Express, combined with floodwater and trunk and root decay,  took down the 1,000-year-old tree at Calaveras Big Trees State Park.
Properly known as the ‘Pioneer Cabin Tree’, this mighty feat of nature was a true icon. 100 feet tall (about two-thirds the height of Nelson’s Column) and 22ft across, it had

A brave new dawn: Rolls-Royce Dawn car review

On a solo fishing expedition in the Highlands, Mark Hedges luxuriates in the slick style, supreme comfort and sheer power of the new Rolls-Royce Dawn. It was not the ideal start: Gatwick South, 6.55am, Arrivals. It got worse. I waited patiently for Bobby to appear among the stream of sunburnt holidaymakers. When he didn’t, I rang him, I rang his wife and I even emailed his sister. Eventually, he called back—he was still on holiday in France. He’d somehow got the wrong week for our annual Scottish fishing trip.
To be honest, Mrs Hedges took some convincing that morning that it

Foxhill Manor review: The Cotswolds house perfect for a pampered getaway

Emma McCall was swept off her feet at Foxhill Manor – in more ways than one.Dormy House
14/08/2014Its ethos might sound like the title of a stroppy teenage drama, but the wealth of luxury and finesse to be soaked up at Foxhill Manor is certainly not a work of fiction.
Indeed, those fortunate enough to stay at this elegant Cotswold stone manor house nestled away on the Farncombe estate are actively encouraged to treat the exquisitely styled establishment as a home from home.
There’s certainly no standing on ceremony or fusty rules here. We were invited to explore every room and aspect of

My favourite painting: Mark Price

‘The picture reminds me of her: I swear she is an angel.’‘The Madonna of the Magnificent’, 1480–81, by Sandro Botticelli (1445–1510), diameter 118in, the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
Mark Price says:
I saw “The Madonna of the Magnificent” with Judith, in Florence, this May to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. The picture reminds me of her: I swear she is an angel. We bought a Victorian watercolour copy a number of years ago and it hangs in our dining room. The detail, particularly the crown being placed on Mary’s head by the angels, is exquisite. The landscape makes me think of the

Let’s hear it for the boys: 10 of the best male frontispieces

It’s not just girls in pearls that grace our frontispiece – let’s hear it for the boys. The “girls in pearls” page has become as synonymous with Country Life as the aspirational property advertisements that run before it. For over a century, the frontispiece has launched the editorial section of the magazine.
However, a little known fact about Country Life is that the first Frontispiece actually featured a man – the Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire – and over the years, there have been a number of men who have given the blushing debutantes a run for their money.
Below, we list some of