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Culture Culinary Highlights

The Pope and La Bandita...

Pienza, one of Italy’s most beautiful towns, is situated in the middle of the Val D’Orcia. Not exactly off the beaten track but definitely worth a visit. In 1996 UNESCO declared the town a World Heritage site and in 2004, the entire valley became one of UNESCO’s World Cultural Landscapes. Formally known as ‘Corsignano’, it was the birthplace in 1405 of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, who later became Pope Pius II. As Pope, he wanted his village rebuilt as an ideal Renaissance town – which has led historians to dub Pienza the “utopian” town.. The summer palace of the Pope Pius II is definitely worth a visit. This palace was also used in the Netflix series “Medici” as the residence of Lorenzo di Medici. 

Pienza has a lot to offer; culture, architecture, panoramic views, ice-cream, sunset drinks and fantastic food! 


When in Pienza you should also stop by Fredo Pasticceria Gelateria Artigianale - This is not your typical gelateria. Fredo’s philosophy is geared towards creating an ice cream as genuine and natural as possible. The owner, Alfredo Biagiotti, is directely involved in visiting the places where pistachios, hazelnuts, citrus fruit and berries grow and personally meeting their producers. These are essential ingredients in the ice creams and sweets. 

Fredo Pasticceria Gelateria Artigianale Via Dogali, 1 53026 PIENZA (SI)

Sunset drinks

This bar, behind Piazza Pio II, is a perfect place to enjoy an aperitivo – the sunset vistas are simply stunning. It's not a very well kept secret but nevertheless, not to be missed. 

Bar Il Castello, Via del Casello 3 Phone No. 0578 74 91 05 

La Bandita Townhouse

Our absolute favorite place to go in Pienza for lunch or dinner is La Bandita Townhouse, a small restaurant and wine bar with an open kitchen. There is also a gorgeous covered outdoor seating area inside the walled medieval garden. John Voigtmann is the owner and manager of La Bandita Townhouse. He gave up his job in New York chasing rock stars around the world with Sony music, and moved to Tuscany with a crazy idea to open a small country hotel, townhouse and restaurant. John just wanted to share a little bit of ‘la dolce far niente’ in Pienza. La Bandita Townhouse offers guests a simple but beautiful, friendly and relaxed atmosphere, and a chance to get away from the box-ticking tourists racing through the sites. “This is a place to observe tourists, rather than be one” (which is exactly Plinius' philosophy).

The real Pienza reveals itself when the tourist go home and as you walk through the medieval alleys you catch the distant sound of an Italian song playing, you smell the pasta sauce being prepared for dinner, you pass a noisy discussion between families who have pulled up wood chairs onto the street on a warm summer evening.

For lunch / dinner at La Bandita Townhouse, Call or email for reservations: +39 0578 749 0052

Olivia Green