Set atop a steep hill overlooking the impossibly beautiful Val d'Orcia, La Bandita mixes the charm of a rural farmhouse with the luxury of a high-end boutique. The twenty-minute drive up a winding, cedar-lined path is transportive--you’ll more than once think you are lost, but by the time you reach the circle drive and glance back over the valley, you’ll realize you’re somewhere special.
On arrival, visitors are welcomed into a large common area that feels like as comfortable as a family room--large couches, large-screen television, a wall of hundreds of books, a fabulous record collection, and a long table with place settings for as many guests as are there for the day. We arrived late, just before dinner, and watched the two chefs preparing our meal in the open kitchen while sipping our glasses of wine from the impressive list curated by the owner. (Meanwhile, the sous chef was making cotton candy with the two young daughters of our fellow guests who had patiently waited on us.) Dinner was world-class--tagliatelle al tartufo, braised pork knuckle, chocolate mousse--and served effortlessly.
Our suite was in the back of the farmhouse, off the kitchen, with a king-sized canopy bed and oversized bathtub resting on a wooden platform, and a desk and lounge on marble floors. The bathroom was spacious, with a stunning open rainshower. French doors lead onto a private terrace overlooking the valley, and we ate our breakfast--generous portions of yogurt, muesli, croissants, juice, fresh fruit, and espresso--outdoors each morning. Each member of the staff--Elena, Simone, David, Mikey, and others--were the perfect balance of relaxed but attentive (we didn’t finish our bottle of wine with dinner, so Mikey corked it and put it in the refrigerator with our names on it, with an invitation to pop in the kitchen and retrieve it--and a snack--whenever we wanted).
The hill towns of Tuscany are all within easy reach (Sienna is about an hour, San Gimignano an hour 30, Montepulciano, Monticchiello, Bagno a Vignoni all around half an hour). The staff at La Bandita is helpful in setting up tastings at the standouts among the dozens of local farms that specialize in cheese, wine, olive oil and more--upon arrival, you’ll be given an extremely helpful guide to region that includes recommendations for best restaurants.
We visited during the off-season, so the pool and other outdoor amenities weren’t available, but with the view, the lovely room, the staff, and the location, we didn’t miss them a bit. There are countless ways to experience the Tuscan countryside--but La Bandita is an experience in itself. In a landscape where everything is beautiful and every place special, La Bandita is truly exceptional.
- 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