THE INSIDERS I FLORENCE
STAY: Hotel Lungarno Ask for a room overlooking the water at this stylish property on the banks of the River Arno in central Florence; slh.com. COFFEE: Caffe Gilli A beautiful bar in Piazza della Repubblica with Murano chandeliers and frescoed ceilings. Have your coffee standing up at the bar as the Italians do; gilli.it. TREATS: Dolcissima There is only one table here. Grab it if you can and settle in for some delicious tiny pastries and tea; dolcissimafirenze.it. EAT: Trattoria Sostanza A traditional trattoria serving Tuscan classics. A speciality is pollo al burro (chicken with butter); Via della Porcellana 25, Santa Maria Novella. SHOP: Busatti This is the place if you’re looking for beautiful linens and towels; Borgo San Jacopo 38. Pensione Bencista Owned by a member of the Florentine aristocracy in the 14th century, this villa was a convent before being converted into a homely, down-to-earth guesthouse in the hills of Fiesole; bencista.com. Caffe Giacosa This grand cafe on della Spada claims to be where the negroni was invented. Wonderful cappuccinos and mochaccinos (and exquisite chocolate); caffegiacosa.it. Procacci This historic delicatessen and wine bar is perfect for a glass of Tuscan wine and a quick snack (perhaps one of the famous ‘‘truffled’’ sandwiches). It also sells olive oils, pates, sauces and jams; procacci1885.it. Il Torchio For beautiful papers, notebooks and other stationery; Via dei Bardi 17. RELAX: Il Giardino delle Rose This rose garden near Piazzale Michelangelo, leading down to the wonderful neighbourhood of San Niccolo, is perfect for a leisurely stroll; ilgiardinodelle
rose.it. Tessa Kiros’s latest book is Limoncello and Linen Water (Murdoch Books, $59.99).