Le Tre Stanze. The three floors. Sounds pragmatic but somehow has a romance all of its own in italian.

Patrick Steiner, sculptor, surfer and all round laid-back dude owns this palazzo in the heart of Florence, only steps from the Duomo.

A timber door made for giants opens onto an oversized black and white parquetry foyer, which leads the eye through to a lush and hidden courtyard in the centre of the palazzo. Beautiful.

Patrick lives here, but four large and lovely guestrooms are available to lucky guests – again, oversized and more like apartments, some with kitchenettes, all with cotto floors, comfortable beds, and eclectic decor (think antique linens from the local flea market, 50’s furniture, applique cushions and danish pottery). One, the Mansarda, has an impossibly romantic little rooftop terrace overlooking the jagged red roofs of Florence, and behind it, the Duomo. As three girls travelling together, this is where we sat over a prosecco in the evening, or an espresso in the morning, before heading out into the fray.

Le Tre Stanze doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is, a few huge, airy, boho-chic rooms in a beautiful old palazzo, but if you’re on a tight budget and don’t need hotel facilities, it’s quiet and tradizionale. 

Patrick doesn’t serve breakfast, but there are a myriad of cafes just a few streets away where you can find a crispily sugared bomboloni filled with lemon custard (surely the best breakfast a person could ask for?) and a latte worth inhaling. I turned to my advantage the fact that there is no lift at Le Tre Stanze, thinking of the bomboloni evaporating from my thighs as I hiked up four floors (for the less energetic, the garden room is on the ground floor).

Patrick can also recommend a number of places to eat nearby and his recommendations are worth listening to – a hole in the wall panetteria served up fantastic rolls stuffed with spinach, herby porchetta and spicy eggplant relish, and right next door was a gelateria so that we could finish off with a white peach gelati. I never thought I’d be quite so thankful for stairs.