From the first email to book my room, until the day I left, the service was (as the young folks say) on fleek. This is something I do not take for granted. Unfortunately, too many people have no idea what it means to work in the hospitality business. Why they would open or work in a hotel/restaurant/spa, etc. is beyond me.
Pienza is small hilltop town with a population of approximately two thousand people. It was the birthplace of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, who would become Pope Pius II. Piccolomini rebuilt the entire village, starting in 1459, after he became Pope. He saw it as a lovely Renaissance retreat from the Papal capital. In 1996 Pienza was named an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s a perfect base from which to explore this region of Tuscany (with a car). Montapluciano, Siena, and other towns are close by. If you’re a Pecorino cheese fan, a visit to Pienza is a must.
Since I was only staying for two nights, I didn’t rent a car and spent most of my time close to the Townhouse. It was FREEZING. I’m not exaggerating. I haven’t been that cold since my days at Syracuse University.
I was elated to see these fire pits around town. I love how in this country even a simple and functional thing, like a fire pit, is well designed. I mean, look at the darn logs. Did the person who built the fire make sure they were “just so” or what? Also, as I said before, it was beyond freezing. Who has time to worry about aesthetics in sub-freezing weather? If the logs were janky, would the fire builder be called out?
I truly appreciate this attention to details.
The views were spectacular. Sunset.
Sun rising. View as I started my epic walk three and a half-hour walk.
Remember this road from the movie GLADIATOR? No, I was not entertained. I was a little freaked out because I didn’t see a single person for kilometers. I started to think, “what if a wild boar attacked me? Nobody could hear me scream. Where the heck is the next farm house?”
Seriously, NOBODY was around.
The top of this well, stylish simplicity.
Pieve dei Santi Vito e Modesto Church. It was built sometime during the 11th and 12th centuries. Notice the distinctive carvings above the door. Several of these small country churches were built above Etruscan sites and used some of the same imagery.
I had a fantastic dinner at the hotel, after I defrosted. The restaurant is open to the pubic (you need reservations). Chef David and his sous-chef, Jacopo, knocked it out of the park.
Martina pours some Prosecco.
During high season, Pienza is very popular with tour groups. This charming video about La Bandita and Pienza helps explain why.
A big Thank You to everyone at La Bandita. Sometimes it’s not so easy to travel alone and they made me feel at home.
Photos: Me and my iPhone.