It's not every hotel that can boast a facade designed, it's rumoured, by Michelangelo. But then not every city is packed with the work of Michelango and other Renaissance greats who have attracted visitors to Florence for hundreds of years.
Israelis have been invited to decide whether their half of the Dead Sea shore should be redeveloped in keeping with its natural beauty or as a full-on, money-spinning concrete jungle.
Floating hotels, health spas and sprawling seaside malls are some of the more radical proposals put forward by the Ministry of Tourism, which wants citizens to help it decide how to spend a NIS 720 million investm
On the Kent coast, overlooking a sunset painted by Turner, you can tuck into a exceptional serving of salt beef. But it is not salt beef as we know it. Jason Freedman, chef-proprietor of The Minnis eschews brisket in favour of the finer-textured rib, and cooks it for hours at low temperature in a water bath rather than the long boil that bubbe would have administered.
He may be about to launch sophisticated Italian and pan-Asian cuisine in London, but it is not a vision of the perfect tiramisu or teriyaki which is misting up Arkady Novikov's eyes when we meet at his Mayfair restaurant.
"Kneidlach," he says, "is what gives me goose bumps. Stuffed chicken neck, matzo brei and other things my grandmother made me. Like gefilte fish - now, I make my own."
Theodore Zeldin believes conversation has the power to change the world. Not a chance remark, and certainly not small talk, but the kind of meaningful exchange of ideas we tend deliberately to avoid in social situations.
Now the celebrated philosopher and historian is travelling the world holding talk-fests where people begin to discuss a topic with a complete stranger,
What is it about Israelis and sushi? The Middle East and Japan are many miles apart, and you would think the Israeli appetite for hearty, spicy fare with plenty of dairy would be at odds with a cuisine composed of dainty portions of fish, rice and seaweed.
There is nothing that shouts spring like the first British asparagus. We leap on it in April, steaming, simmering or slathering it with vinaigrette and hollandaise, and mourning the fact it will all be over by June.
But now M&S have found a way to create a second British crop to make fresh asparagus an autumn treat as well.
Many young women suffering from an incurable disease, leaving them debilitated and in excruciating pain, would allow their lives to be blighted with bitterness. But not Elaine Benton, who was diagnosed at five-years-old with Gaucher's disease, a genetic condition which disproportionately affects Ashkenazi Jews.
Once it was a treat fishmongers threw in free with the Dover sole, before it vanished from the slabs and re-emerged barely a decade ago as a pick-your-own crop for foodies scouring shorelines and riverbanks. Then, professional foragers started feeding it into restaurants and suddenly samphire became a fixture on the trendiest menus.
Is Howard Schultz a madman or a genius? A "poor boy from Brooklyn", he spent 13 years building up Starbucks from a handful of branches to a global empire before deciding to step back. And after he had borrowed millions to buy it.
A slow food movement for babies may sound like a middle-class affectation. However, anyone who watched the recent BBC Three programme, Fast Food Baby, will realise we urgently need a formal feeding programme to get the next generation back on track.
Jews, according to the stereotype, tend to be control freaks. We all crack jokes about our neurotic dads and balabooster mothers having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
But OCD is far from a joke, with an estimated 740,000 sufferers in Britain. And although not borne out by hard data, the clinical view is that Jews are more likely than the general population to be affected.
In the same handsome crescent that houses the Western Marble Arch Synagogue, a gorgeous boutique hotel has arisen.
Part of the Pride of Britain consortium, it opened less than a year ago with 82 rooms built within a run of seven listed Georgian buildings and a pair of mews houses. Original features have been retained, but a contemporary vibe prevails in the public areas.