Here’s another bucolic B&B with sultry summer days in mind: think halcyon setting, a chorus of cicada song from the trees, the scents of pine and new-mown grass, the flickering of fireflies at twilight. Seriously. We’re just outside Longiano. One of those almost-immaculate hilltop villages in the Rimini hinterland established to serve the local lord in his imposing castle (the House of Malatesta was ubiquitous in this neck of the woods in the late Middle Ages), it was enriched with more prestigious real estate in the 1700s and 1800s, and is now flawlessly restored and picturesque to a fault. Brimming with history, it boasts several museums and even a little gem of a theatre.
Our B&B, Alloggio al San Girolamo, is on the outskirts, surrounded by gardens and overlooking vineyards and orchards. It’s an old property typical of the Romagna hills, refurbished in a cosy country style as far the main villa is concerned while some rooms in the low garden annexe are more contemporary. All mod cons are present and correct, there’s a common sitting-and-reading room, a bbq and use of the kitchen on request. Above all there’s an abundance of calm and quiet. A buffet breakfast, served in the garden or by the fireplace according to the season, features the genuine flavours of local organic produce and preserves and homemade cakes and pastries. After which, off to the Romagna coast with its famous beach resorts and golf courses, or on a cycling tour of more immaculate inland villages, never forgetting the bounteous epicurean delights of the region whichever direction you take. About the fireflies: when I was there in mid May the whole vineyard below the garden annexe became a shimmering sea of them as the sun set. Utterly bewitching and unforgettable.