My apologies for the radio silence. Work has been bonkers. One of my clients moved back to the States. She was a high-ranking diplomat and her term was up. We needed to organize a major international move for someone who had lived in Rome for quite some time.
My trip to La Bandita was the weekend after her move was finished. The timing was perfect. I was completely wiped out.
We met at the Chiusi train station and rented a car. Thankfully, Annalee did most of the driving as the two times I’ve rented a car in Italy I’ve received a speeding ticket. I lived in Los Angeles for ten years and drove pretty much every single day. I never received a speeding ticket (or any ticket for that matter). NEVER. I really don’t understand why I got tickets in Sicily and Tuscany given I was trying to keep up with the flow of traffic. Sorry, I digress.
I keep hearing Tuscany is over. Those people are on drugs. Are there some areas that are packed with tourists? Yes, but Tuscany is a large region. There’s no reason to write off the entire area.
The Val d’Orcia is truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in Italy. My next post will be about what we did and where we went.
Today, I’m focusing on the interior design. I’ve seen my share of “Tuscan” interiors. Too often there are extremes, either super modern, stripping all the character out of these older homes or too traditional, creating a space that reminds you of the Addams Family’s house.
Owners Ondine Cohane and John Voightmann, with their architects Ernesto Bartolini and Arianna Pieri of DA Studio in Florence, have a created a contemporary space that is warm, airy, and feels Tuscan. That last quality is so difficult to get right especially in an era of cookie cutter interior design (in part because every city has the same chain stores). Are there elements of the design that would feel at home in say, Miami or the Caribbean? Absolutely. The La Bandita team worked closely with local artisans and used natural materials found in the area. All these pieces came together to create a space that could only be in Tuscany.
This article, written by Ondine, is about the how and why John and Ondine opened the Country House.
Annalee and I stayed in The Pigsty Suite. Yes, this independent apartment (just a few meters from the main house) used to be the pigsty.
My pictures don’t do it justice. It was perfection. We had our own little patio. The views from our “backward” were breathtaking. The bathroom was immaculate. I have a thing about cleanliness in general and it’s taken to another level regarding kitchens and bathrooms.
The bathroom was huge and I loved having a shower next to the big picture window. I felt like I was taking a shower outdoors but without the risk of being attacked by wild boars. Seriously, these darn boars are no joke. Annalee and I went jogging before dinner and other guests told us they saw a family of boars right after they passed us on the road. No grazie.
The check in desk/reception is in the main quasi-open planned room with the kitchen and dining areas. There is a lounge/library area with a great selection of books.
My personal hotel tastes lean toward simple but sophisticated interiors. Some might find the bedrooms too minimalist but for me they let the architecture and views shine. The rooms are relaxing and calm which is what I want in a hotel room.
I can see how this hotel may not work for a solo traveler or anti-social couples as the dining space is communal. Bandita Countryhouse would be perfect for a group to rent the entire space.
It’s truly off the beaten path so I’m glad we arrived during the day. The unpaved road leading to the property is steep but worth it for the 360 views.
While technically it is a boutique hotel, the vibe at La Bandita Countyhouse is more your friend’s very chic country house in Tuscany. I am here for it. The hospitality and food were wonderful. John, Ondine, Dario, Elena, Paola, Marco, and the cat (I didn’t catch its name) made us feel at home.
I had a great time. So much so that I’m willing to deal with the drama of driving a car in Italy again.
Photos: Me and my iPhone.
La Bandita Countryhouse
Podere La Bandita
Pienza (SI) 53026