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
Now back home in coolish Germany, heart warming memories to Bandita Townhouse. We got upgraded to a beautiful suite. And the teenage girls also had a beautiful room with a view. All pretty stylish, water and soft drinks are free, and there is plenty, a glass of wine every day at five ... what a difference these little gestures make! The restaurant is very good, excellent wines from the region at a fair price, very friendly and professionell staff looking after you. The owner (a former US music industry manager) is around regularly and welcomes guest with a handshake so that you feel well looked after but never stalked. The lady at reception (her name escaped me sorry!) provided us with lots of information about the area including restaurant recommendations and arranged a wine tasting at bio winery Salcheto nearby (lunch there and winery tour were a bit underwhelming and rather expensive but ok). Parking in a public space 200m away but you can enter the old town by car to drop your luggage. In late October we even found a parking place for free. Love to come back.
The most charming hotel, in the most picture-perfect town in one of the most beautiful settings in the world. This part of Tuscany is iconic, and Pienza itself plays such a significant roll in the history of the region. La Bandita Townhouse is at the center of it all, and offers a locally inspired experience with the flare of a very well appointed townhouse in New York or London. The owner-managers recommended a beautiful farm nearby, with excellent cheese and some really exceptional honey, which I brought back as gifts.
The rooms are comfortable and true to the style of the setting; the food was some of the best I’ve had anywhere in Italy, and the living room was a great place to just unwind and relax. The service is personal and attentive, like being hosted in a very well-established family’s home.
This was my first visit to Italy. What a start to the trip. We spent 6 nights here at this great 12 room boutique hotel. A perfect location to tour surrounding areas in Tuscany then come back to this great spot within walking distance to so many great restaurants as well as the one here at the hotel. We had our last dinner in the hotel and food was delicious. The chef is amazing. We stayed in a junior suite which had a huge bathroom. We loved the pre dinner drinks in the library as well as relaxing there after dinner each night listening to albums. Thanks to John, Elena, Virginia and all the staff for a wonderful stay.