Dante stayed here – crossing the Lunigiana on a pilgrimage. Built in the 12th-century, Fosdinovo is one of the most important castellos in Tuscany, and one of the most fascinating. Pietro, eloquent, hospitable son of the Marquis Malaspina, knows the history. If the journey up the winding road is an adventure, then the arrival is thrilling; the views swoop to the Tyrrhenian coast and you sail into a fairy tale. Spiralling staircases run up and down, to Throne Room, Arms Room, Watchtower, terraces. The drawing room is faded but inviting, the dining hall is remarkable (note the ceiling fresco of a goat's behind!). Bedrooms are spacious and have breathtaking views, particularly those in the South Wing. Two come with vast marble baths, one with a wood-burning stove you have to stoke... all have high ceilings, old polished floors, fine white towels – great sober spaces in which nothing jars, just right for a castle. Stroll the small streets of the castle hamlet, hop in the car to Sarzana, catch the train to the sea. Return to a delicious (menu-free) dinner as you gaze on the setting sun.