Angiolina's village house was built in the 1600s and was always in her family before it passed down to her, the last in the line. After her death, the building was eventually bought by her great-niece, Nadia, and Nadia's husband, and they converted it over two years to its current use, opening as Angiolina's Farm on April 18, 2019. The old lady would surely find it difficult to recognise now.

The dark and dusty cellar where she charmed her neighbours has become a stylish and modern reception and dining area in which guests are greeted and they eat their breakfasts. The dining tables filling the room were made from the aged wood of the huge wine barrels that Angiolina had. She probably wouldn't notice the barrel-to-breakfast-table transformation, but inside Angiolina's Farm the old stone walls of the house and the chestnut beams and timbers of the ceilings remain, and are another link to the widow's past.

And the black iron wall oven left in one of the guest house's rooms must have helped prepare all those cakes all those years ago. Angiolina's chickens and rabbits are gone, as is the donkey she used before a narrow winding road finally made its way up the hill to the village.

Although it had only been open for just over a month by late May 2019, Angiolina's Farm had already attracted visitors from France, Italy, UK, Germany and America, plus the first repeat visitors, an elderly couple from Switzerland. The complete renovation offers guests the choice of three suites, a family room on two levels, a triple room or four double rooms. Next year another suite will be added.

The rooms have individual terraces that take in the tremendous view down to the coastal town of Levanto and the Ligurian Sea. There are two jacuzzis, a small children's playground and a barbecue. Also next year a pool will be built. Angiolina's Farm is described as a private house, certainly not a hotel and preferably not even a guest house: the idea is to be small and intimate, a second home for the visitors. The positive comments in the guestbook and on websites reflect this.

The “agriturismo” designation means that tourists can taste products made by the owner, and Nadia's husband has bees, grapevines and olive trees nearby. Nadia herself, who is actually an accountant, designed the elegant conversion of Angiolina's ageing home, mixing the above-mentioned old elements with newer ones such as the automatically sliding plate-glass entrance door, snazzy tiling, tasteful decor and furniture, and all-mod-cons bathrooms.

The rooms are furnished nicely and have air-conditioning, heating, hairdryer, Wi-Fi, safe, electric kettle and tea corner, telephone and mini-fridge. The atmosphere is warm and refined. The suites feature a kitchenette and one room is equipped to accommodate people with disabilities.

One thing hasn't changed and won't be: the spectacular breath-taking panorama down the hill dotted with other villages to Levanto and its bay in the Ligurian Sea. Angiolina's Farm, Legnaro and Levanto are in the Cinque Terre (Five Lands) region of Liguria amid forests of conifers, chestnut trees, strawberry trees, orchards, olive and lemon groves, and the Mediterranean maquis (shrubland) of heather and broom. Here is preserved the quiet and authentic lifestyle of traditional Italian life.

In the other direction from Legnaro, just a few kilometres distant, is the lovely Cinque Terre coast with the sea crashing into near-vertical hills and cliffs beneath which are the five picturesque villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.

# The Cinque Terre town of Vernazza

These can be reached by several means, joined to each other by walking paths, a railroad that tunnels through the headlands to emerge at each town, or a scenic narrow road high on the hillside above. Hiking between the villages is one of the most popular things to do as it gives travellers the chance to enjoy the landscape. The small towns have maintained a feel of old-world fishing villages and offer a sense of remoteness even in the face of modern tourism. The entire national park encompassing the Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The third smallest of Italy's 20 regions, Liguria stretches in a long and narrow ribbon of land along Italy's north-western coast, curving along the edge of the Ligurian Sea, with one foot in France and the other in Tuscany. Mountains separate it from Piedmont to the north, Emilia Romagna to the east and Tuscany to the south.

In old films, glamorous jet-setters hop into their sports cars and motor from Monte Carlo to Rome through belle époque seaside resort towns in the style of Cannes and Monaco; dozens and dozens of sandy strands, rocky coves and pebbly beaches; Italy's largest commercial and naval ports; some of the country's most secluded stretches of coast, where lush forests of lemon trees, herbs, flowers, almonds and pines send forth heady sweet-smelling breezes; and terraced hillsides produce an olive oil considered more delicate than that produced in Tuscany.

By train, car or bike, the spectacular journey along the Ligurian coast goes through tunnel after tunnel, always bursting forth from darkness into warm sunlight, the aquamarine sea glimmering alongside.

Angiolina's Farm, Via San Giovanni Bosco 33, 19015 Legnaro (SP), Italy
Tel.: 0187 80 13 31

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