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“One of my favorite places, ever.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of La Bandita

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La Bandita
Loc. Lucciolabella, 53026 Pienza, Italy   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 26 Pienza B&B and Inns
San Francisco, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“One of my favorite places, ever.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

I'm one of those terrible TripAdvisor users - savor and treasure all the advice and reviews, and then rarely if ever make time to post my own reviews, though I know better. That, and I almost don't want everyone else to know about this amazing place, god forbid I can't come back and get my room back. But I had to make time to write about La Bandita, because praise is so richly deserved.

Briefly about me: When it comes to travel, I'm relatively spoiled and like nice things (there, I said it). It not just about how much money one is willing to spend, b/c as we all know, you can book a room at the Four Seasons and it'll be nice...but maybe that's about it. As a hardworking professional, I treasure my time off and more than anything want to end up at a place that is gorgeous and will leave a long-lasting memory, a place that you're REALLY sad to leave, that you long to come back to. Well, if the Four Seasons was a stunningly-decorated old stone house on the top of a picturesque Tuscan Hill with an infinity pool, wine cellar, and pizza oven, then JACKPOT!

This property: My partner and I spent several days here as a mid-point in our travels from Rome to Florence. Pienza was advised my many as the perfect place to park in Tuscany, so we searched for a great place to stay and found La Bandita. Honestly and truly, there are only a handful of places in all my travels that I can say this about: PERFECTION. What you've read in the other posts is true -- magical, majestic, warm, cool, sleek, inviting, stunning, delicious...vacation. You'll wish you lived here. But you don't. So the best you can do is settle in, savor it, revel in how approachable, kind, caring, and smart the owners/staff are, and realize that you can come back.

From the moment we arrived, we knew we found something special. We stared, dumbfounded, at Elena, our gorgeous host, when she welcomed us in the golden afternoon Tuscan sun with two Spritz cocktails (Prosecco, Aperol, splash of Pellegrino and an orange slice) and led us to a hilltop bench overlooking all of Tuscany. She told us to take our time and enjoy! The infinity pool and slick orange bed-loungers off to our left, neighboring stone farmhouses and grazing cows across the hills in front of us, cypress tree trails and the beautiful inn to our right...it was a sight to behold.

Over the next few days, we slept like babies. We took lingering baths, we took long showers in the oversized rain shower. We had beautiful breakfasts outside, an espresso maker at our disposal. Personal concierge service. An all-day bike trip was arranged. One afternoon, we painted with watercolors under the poolside gazebo (graciously stocked with cold drinks). One evening, we dined with some of the other guests on delicious food prepared by the resident chef, David, and then all sat around the outdoor firepit. Another evening, owner Jon Voigtman led a mouthwatering education through a tasting of Brunellos that featured a huge selection of local gems, many quite expensive and not what you'd usually see at a tasting. Oh, that was good! Jon is so smart and well-versed in Brunellos; Italian wine in general. We live in San Francisco/Bay area with constant access to Napa/Sonoma wine-country, and we learned SO much from Jon that night. Reflective of his love of wine, he keeps a large selection of curated wines sitting in the Inn's living room, available for the taking on an honor-system: just write down what you took to your room or outside by the fire, and "enjoy!"

Then, there was our other host, Simone (who happens to be Elena's boyfriend) - an amazingly gracious, kind, and energetic guy who along with Elena dispensed priceless advice when helping us plan our days and drives around Tuscany. One night, Simone led pizza night, executed through the traditional brick pizza built just outside the kitchen. He prepared the dough the morning before and the smell of yeasty rising dough filled the Inn's main floor. He fired up the oven early in the day and by early evening's purple and orange sunset -- between the perfectly risen dough, the ashes flying through the chimney, the freshly uncorked bottles of Brunello breathing, and the Spritz aperitifs in our hand -- we realized that we had a problem. We could get used to this. We don't want to leave, ever.

Turns out Simone used to run an authentic pizzeria, and really knows what he's doing (and frankly, he could/should give a class). I was in heaven: Simone was willing to teach me, and before I knew it, I was kneading, flinging Semolina and discs of yeasty dough across the farm table and ripping up chunks of fresh cheese like a pro. He taught me the art of how to use the pizza peel to perfectly deposit and snatch up the squash blossom and ricotta pie in just 60 seconds of searing, wood-burning heat. Seriously...I couldn't have booked a better, more authentic cooking lesson if I tried -- and I'm a foodie, and I tried. We were in Tuscany, after all.

I'll wrap it up, because, really, I could go on and on, as this was one of the most magical and perfect places we've ever stayed. Thank you Elena and Simone, and owners Jon Voigtman and the fabulous Ondine Cohan (who, fittingly, is a brilliant travel writer) for making our stay truly amazing. Thank you for creating this place, for sharing it, and for continuing to expand your vision (the owners just opened an amazing-looking second place in the heart of town, La Bandita Townhouse, a former ancient nunnery). We feel so lucky to have found a place we find ourselves thinking about all year, that we know we'll come back tom and recommend without reservation. Just don't take my room! :-)

Room Tip: The rooms are truly all terrific; larger rooms are just that -- larger -- but they're all simila...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

I was at La Bandita after Christmas and left the first day of 2013.
My wife and two kids had a wonderful time. The scenery is of a dreamlike quality and the stay was pleasant due to the excellent cares of Simone Elena David and the kind polish lady who's name I don't remember, I'm sorry! Too much Vino Nobile I guess.
Everybody was very kind and helpful and so nice to the kids. Simone went out of his way to feed the children when they didn't like a dish and made them something else. Simone gave great tips about the area and made reservations for the restaurants, and he draws beautiful maps of the area. He was such a great help and was always upbeat. I loved the concept of a hotel/livingroom and the abscence of formality was delightful. I felt right at home and relaxed and not just because I am a Tuscan by origin, because my wife felt the same. I'm already dreaming of going back!!!

Bruno Giuntoli, Rotterdam.

Room Tip: It really doesn't matter i think.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, Virginia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

A friend and I scheduled a girls trip to Italy, right after Thanksgiving. La Bandita was a recommendation from a friend who had visited the previous year.

We loved our stay here. Everyone was extremely helpful and friendly, from pre-arrival planning to activity planning once we arrived, to recommending other hotels for the first leg of our trip. Near the end of our stay another guest recommended an alternate rental car drop off location in Rome and La Bandita's wonderful concierge came in early the next morning to arrange the alternate drop off for us. By the time that we had arrived downstairs for breakfast, it had all been taken care of. We hugged her when we left. They really made it effortless for us.

While there you must dine in at least one night. Both chefs that cooked for us were amazing, and we met some lovely other guests during two of the nights that we dined in. After a long day of sight seeing, having a delicious dinner option on site is really nice.

The only word of warning for travelers driving, is that the driveway is a bit challenging. If possible try not to rent a car that is too low to the ground, because you could bottom out a bit.

I would definitely go back to La Bandita if given the chance.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Firenze
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

The only downside about la Bandita is that the secret is getting out, & its necessary to book a room way in advance!
I had dinner with my family there one evening in July, but had to stay in a nearby Agriturismo called Luccio Bella, as la Bandita was fully booked.
Dinner was magical,sitting on a deck on top of a hillside watching the light change as the sun went down. At one point it felt as though we were dining on a stage above the clouds. Combine that with the wonderful modern Tuscan food & wines, & you are pretty close to Heaven!
Recently we stayed 2 nights at la Bandita.In November this time, so too cold to eat outside.We met the other hotel guests for wine & Apertivi then dined family style around a long table.Dinner both nights was Chef David's personal interpretation of local Tuscan dishes. Two outstanding dishes were Green lentils with white truffle oil, and Papadelle with white truffles.I would happily choose either dish as my last meal on earth!
Our room was very large , with a comfortable bed & wonderful modern bathroom with views of the beautiful Tuscan countryside from all the windows.
The location seems remote as it is up a winding dirt road in the middle of the countryside, but it is an easy drive to visit many local villages including Montacello, Montepulciano,& my favorite Pienza. We actually got to tour la Bandita's new venture, a townhouse that is still under construction in a former convent building in Pienza.Its going to be wonderful!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

Was researching lodging in or near Pienza during a driving trip around Italy in August 2011. The reviews seemed positive, so I called to see if there was any last-minute availability. Francesca was vibrant and inviting starting with answering the phone. The drive up the dirt roads adds to the authentic experience. The interior of La Bandita is well done - contemporary, but in balance with the architecture and surroundings. We made friends with all of the guests who were staying there and chose to have dinner together (and lots of wine) one night. David's food was prepared on-the-spot - and fantastic. It was great to observe and learn how to make great pesto. I'm torn that I like to visit new places - and there is a lot still to see - but I'm hoping to make it back here many, many times. It's one of my favorite places to stay - ever.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012

We stayed three nights at La Bandita, a beautiful small resort situated on a idyllic hillside in Tuscany. The room itself is large and very comfortable, but I wouldn't recommend spending much time there when you could be sitting outside enjoying the scenery or visiting one of the many Tuscan hill towns in easy driving distance. The staff at La Bandita are all knowledgable and helpful when it comes to planning out your itinerary to check out farms, vineyards, restaurants, and wherever else you choose to visit.

The communal dinners are wonderful as well, as you get to enjoy the company of your fellow guests and the staff over wines from the extensive cellar (or whatever you bought on your day's travels). The quality of cooking, especially from David, is as good as any restaurant we tried in the area.

One word of caution- the road up to the villa is about 3km of rocky, hilly gravel. You can do it in any car, but if you have the option, something with a little clearance on the bottom is preferable.

We'll be back, hopefully soon!

Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sausalito, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2012

A “magical dream” wouldn’t do it justice… La Bandita is an incredible place filled with the most amazing people who (from the moment you arrive) make you feel ‘at home’. When trying to decide where to ‘elope’, it didn’t take long to decide on La Bandita and the magic of Pienza. John, Paola, David and the rest of the Bandita family are truly amazing. We wouldn’t have had such a flawless wedding day if it weren’t for them. Having traveled extensively and to some of the most beautiful places in the world, it says quite a lot when we claim La Bandita to be at the top of our destination list… a wonderful journey and one you shouldn’t miss!

- Cheryl & Steve Foland, Sausalito, CA

Room Tip: The Pig Sty Suite offers extra privacy and a breaktaking view, however every room at La Bandita is u...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about La Bandita

Address: Loc. Lucciolabella, 53026 Pienza, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Siena > Pienza
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 26 B&Bs / Inns in Pienza
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Stylish 8-room country retreat in the beautiful Tuscany countryside. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Bandita Hotel Pienza

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