Casa Fontestate sits at 250 metres above sea level 30 km from the Adriatic coast. On clear days you can see the coastline from the house, inviting you to soak up the sun and build sandcastles on its beaches. Walnuts, sour cherries, figs, mulberries, persimmons and strawberries all grow in our garden, not to mention more than a hundred evergreen olive trees. In summer a spring bubbles up from beneath the surface, giving the place its name (fonte estate meaning ‘summer spring’ in Italian), which in days of yore provided nearby villagers with drinking water in the hottest and driest months of the year. The cooing of woodpigeons and the calls of pheasants can be heard around the place, which lizards and geckos have also made their home. The peal of church bells rolls across the hills every 15 minutes from each of the three fortified towns that encircle us on the mountain tops.