La Bandita Townhouse
What We Love
- The center-of-it-all setting in a charming Tuscan town where parts of The English Patient were filmed
- Traditional yet up-to-date Tuscan cuisine using seasonal local ingredients
- Private courtyard garden with patio seating
What To Know
- There’s an appointment-only spa
- The closest train station is in Chiusi, about a 45-minute drive away. The hotel can arrange transfers or rental cars
- Free WiFi
Converted 15th-century convent turned sleek boutique in the picturesque Tuscan hilltop town of Pienza
Urban loft meets rustic Tuscan retreat. Working with a top designer, who happens to be a cousin and frequent collaborator of starchitect Richard Rogers, La Bandita’s owners have stayed true to the light-filled 500-year-old building’s beautiful bones. There are rough-hewn stone walls, beam ceilings and grand archways everywhere you look. Into this structure they’ve inserted their own industrial-chic downtown aesthetic, employing vintage mirrors, maps, leather club chairs and metal stools and seats from a famed antiques warehouse in Florence, custom-designing mod bookshelves and cabinetry, and staining wood floors and ceilings in light shades of gray to pull it all together.
Bed and Bath
In keeping with the rest of the hotel’s modern-meets-ancient aesthetic, the dozen guestrooms are spread across three floors and all differ in size and shape. The furnishings are largely consistent, however: Large custom-made platform beds covered with crisp white linens, convertible sofabeds and mod orange-and-gray cabinetry stand out against the neutral palette of exposed stone, white walls and gray-washed wooden floors and ceilings. About half of the ample bathrooms, all done in crisply contemporary white and gray and outfitted with subtly fragranced products from Ortiga Sicilia Home, have both a tub and a shower; in some rooms, in fact, the soaking tub is, rather decadently, right in the bedroom.
On the ground floor, down a barrel-vaulted, stone-walled hallway, the Townhouse Café serves breakfast, dinner and drinks daily, and lunch every day except Monday and Tuesday. The restaurant’s maroon subway-tiled kitchen, vintage furnishings and large arched French doors create a convivial atmosphere that nicely matches the seasonal, local, casual food it serves. Beyond the restaurant there’s a patio with table seating and, a few steps up from that, a grassy little walled garden bordered by herbs, shrubs, flowers and small trees. Back inside and on the second floor, a guests-only library and bar stocks a collection of books both academic and amusing, and serves small snacks at cocktail hour. A turntable with vintage vinyl provides the tunes (the American owner was once a record company exec who accompanied the likes of the Strokes on tour).
In the Area
The hotel has a prime location in Pienza. You’re a few short blocks from the piazza, with its grand church and tiny coffee bar, and artisanal and specialty food shops line the streets in every direction. The best store for the region’s pecorino cheese and fennel sausage is Marusco e Maria, while a great wine selection can be found just around the corner at Enoteca di Ghino. Top restaurants include Sette Divino and Latte di Luna. Beyond Pienza, the rolling hills, medieval hilltop towns and exquisite wineries of southern Tuscany’s UNESCO-protected Val d’Orcia await. And it’s not far from Tuscany’s northern reaches, either: Sienna and Cortona are all less than an hour away. San Gimignano and Florence are about 90 minutes.
How to Get There
This was my second time staying at La Bandita - originally we thought to try somewhere new but after much research we chose to head back to Pienza and La Bandita - and it was well worth it! La Bandita is a beautiful boutique hotel right in Pienza town centre (which takes you just 5 mins to walk up and down with). It was nice to be in a modern design hotel but which had personal, warm service.
The food at the restaurant is also still as amazing as it was 5 years ago - notably because the same chef is still there! The standard is akin to any international restaurant you would find in London etc but of course with italian flavours :) Do get the fritters!
We stayed in the Junior Suite which has a huge bathroom and a bath. There is a lift as well so it's easy to get up and down, but it's also quiet and personal as the hotel is small. We tried the relaxing room as well, which you can rent privately for an hour - it's a room on the ground floor with a steam shower and a jacuzzi. It's painted blue and is as the name suggests - relaxing!
I loved that La Bandita also has a personal guidebook with suggestions of where to eat and what to do - every suggestion was A+!
And the location of Pienza is our favourite little town to visit. You'll recognise scenes from Gladiator there! The town square has a large church with a little bar behind it (not part of the church tho ha!) - which overlooks the valleys.
Pienza is in Val d' orcia, a UNESCO area which is touted as Tuscancy's most beautiful. We certainly found it more beautiful than Sienna - the rolling hills will take your breath away!
Thank you to the La Bandita team John, Elena and Virginia for taking good care of us!
This amazing hotel is impeccably on point in charm, luxury and hospitality. We are so thrilled we decided to visit Pienza and feel fortunate to have found La Bandita Townhouse. The views from Pienza overlooking the Tuscan countryside are ineffable, and every photo a postcard. Gourmet locally sourced restaurant. Very comfortable beds - a wonderful night's sleep. In-room complimentary beverages, snacks and gourmet coffee are a much appreciated touch, in addition to the evening snack and wine served. Sylia and the team are so lovely. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay, and hope to be back again!
The staff and owner of the hotel were amazing. We asked them for recommendations for places to eat, visit nearby towns and of course the wineries. It is a boutique hotel and has 12 rooms with a great library area were you can listen and relax to vinyl albums and drink your wine. The restaurant food was delicious and we were traveling with 6 people. The location of the hotel is centrally located in the town and easy to get around. I would recommend you walk the trail and see the beautiful countryside views. Pienza is quiet a gem and would highly recommend visiting it.