SOUTHERN TUSCANY IS A PERFECT SHORT BREAK DESTINATION
U P D A T E D February 9th 2014
La Bandita Townhouse has kindly offered DoinDubai Subscribers a 5% discount on published rates as well as a complimentary bottle of Prosecco as a Thank You for our write up of a fabulous stay at their property. DoinDubai Subscribers only complete the contact form below.
I don’t know what the oldest building is in Dubai but I’m guessing some of the traditional houses in the Bastakiya area would qualify as being “old”, and although no one lives in these houses anymore, it’s great that the area still has a vibrancy about it with the cafes, shops and art exhibitions that occur from time to time.
Now imagine the same scenario but this time with whole villages and small towns at least 800 years old that are surrounded only by golden, green rolling valleys and gentle hills but still with people living in the dwellings as though nothing has changed. Not a sky scraper in site but just greenery, more golden fields, acres of proud sunflowers and the tall Cypress trees said to represent the Eternal Flame…
You are in Val D’Orcia in Southern Tuscany
We visited this August, during a week that happened to be a culturally important time and we were lucky enough to see:
- Re-enactments of archery tournaments at St Edigio’s church in Montalcino
- Musical processions by citizens in full medieval dress in the Montepulciano’s streets
- Firework displays in tiny village squares in Pienza
- And the grand arrangements around the famous Palio horse race in Sienna. (won by the Snail Mermaids this year)
Southern Tuscany is full of gorgeous hill-top towns with unique examples of fine Renaissance architecture and each one is special in it’s own way.
We chose to stay in the heritage town of Pienza, a small but perfectly formed example of everything you’d expect and a bit more from a classic Italian hill-top town. It was built for Pope Pius the second by architect Bernado Rossellini and is one of a group of towns that comprise the Valdorcia area of Southern Tuscany.
It is extraordinary how easily the modern world of our exceptionally crafted accommodation at La Bandita Townhouse co existed with historic town halls, regal churches, imposing cathedrals and miniature town squares. There even seemed to be a type of easy synergy between the old and the new, the historic and the modern that was difficult to define. One of the young Italian concierges lived in the UNESCO village, as many still do. During the day she efficiently made bookings for restaurants or winery visits and during the evening we waved to her with her family waiting for festivities to begin.
Deciding where to go on holiday, getting there and finding a hotel are just the beginning when seeking the requirements needed to “enjoy” yourself. But at La Bandita Townhouse all those difficult decisions about what to do every day are made for you by the ever smiling (really) and friendly concierges who never tire of sorting out your holiday dilemmas. They even got me a blanket so I wouldn’t be cold at 11pm watching the fireworks in the village square and having some high quality anti sting ointment, again at an odd time, was an unexpected blessing. Did I mention laundry was included in our room rates?
We enjoyed swimming in hot springs at the Fosso Bianco pool, visiting the most modern winery in Italy, walking around Montepulciano and the Montalcino’s fortress, catching a concert in the spa town of Bagno Vignoni with it’s unusual flowing square, eating dinner where the locals do and finding the best lavender and peach gelato a few minutes walk from hotel.
Be prepared to witness some of the most historic sites and the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in beautifully verdant and natural settings.
Be prepared to eat exquisite gelato, pasta and artesan breads and cheeses (Pecorino is famous here)
But also be prepared to walk. Hill top towns really are sometimes on top of hills, so parking is restricted, walking shoes are essential but worth it when you see the most incredible views from places like the Piazza San Francesco in Montepulciano. I recommend eating at the Locanda San Francesco, also known as the E Lucevan Le Stelle and fill up on good food, wine and views. Then gently walk back down the hill but stop to buy fabulous leather shoes, bags and gastronomic goodies from the area.
Stay at La Bandita Townhouse in Pienza for the comforts of home with an authentic Italian flavor with no fuss. Try Tuscany for a perfect break.
How to get there:
Nearest airports are Rome or Florence (both around 2 hours drive) or Perugia (about an hour’s drive away) Or you can get a train from Rome to Terme (about 40 minutes drive away). It was very easy from Perugia. Link direct to their website page ‘How to Find Us’
La Bandita Townhouse is run by John Voigtman who used to work in the music industry in New York but has run the Townhouse and the La Bandita Country house for nearly eight years.
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Ciao Bellas !
To avail the 5% Discount you need to make contact through this contact form. Your response will be from La Bandita Townhouse themselves.
Link to La Bandita Townhouse
A Related Article (not on DoinDubai ) Southern comfort in Tuscany (standard.co.uk)