The Vibe: New York loft meets Tuscan renaissance.
The Area: On the pedestrianized main ‘corso’ in the historic centre of Pienza – a Renaissance utopia that overlooks the voluptuous landscape of the Val d’Orcia in southern Tuscany. Though the town itself is tiny, there are endless excursions around this Unesco-protected valley: within a half-hour’s drive are the wine-producing medieval hill towns of Montepulciano and Montalcino, the pretty villages of San Quirico and Montichiello, and the Roman spas of Bagno Vignoni.
The DNA: My name is John Voigtmann, and I am the owner and manager of La Bandita Townhouse. Thirteen years ago, I gave up my job in New York chasing rock stars around the world with Sony music, and moved to Tuscany with a crazy idea to open a small country hotel. It’s been an amazing experience, and I’ve never looked back. We are not a part of a global hotel group with an expansion plan. I still don’t know anything about real hotels. It’s just that after 6 years of running La Bandita as a countryside getaway for laidback luxury, I just wanted to share a little bit of the sweetness of living in Pienza, and to offer travelers a refuge of simple, friendly and relaxed hospitality, and a chance to get away from the box-ticking tourists racing through the sites. This is a place to observe tourists, rather than be one, to see them swell in and then out each day, while from the window of your room, you gaze down the medieval alleys, catch the distant sound of an Italian song playing, smell the pasta sauce being readied for lunch. Across the way, an old lady smiles and waves as she waters her meticulously kept window box. At night, you’ll stroll home from dinner, down a cobblestone lane, passing a noisy discussion between families who have pulled wood chairs out into the street on a warm summer evening. Stay a few nights, and they will wave as you pass. Maybe you will consider giving it all up too…
Suite-Me-Up: The rooms and suites at La Bandita Townhouse are spacious and airy with modern fixtures, fittings and designer furniture. The former nuns’ cells still have the original centuries old exposed stone complemented by wooden parquet floors. All of the air-conditioned rooms and suites have queen-size beds and very high ceilings. Many have large windows onto the cobbled lanes of the village and from the top floor suites you can enjoy far reaching views across the Val d’Orcia to Montepulciano, Montefollonico and Monte Amiata. ✅ free minibar of soft drinks, bottled water and coffee.
Your host: John Voigtmann
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 12 rooms (25-50m2) (269-538 sq ft) • architecture & interior design: Arianne Pieri, Ernesto Bartolini (DA.Studio) • bathroom amenities: Ortigia • parking possible nearby (charged) ✅ pets welcome, no charges