ITALY IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA

You know that fantasy you have about becoming a travel writer, packing up everything and hitting the road, eventually settling into some romantic Tuscan town to open a hotel? Well, Ondine Cohane is the winner of that dream, because she’s living it. Cohane and her husband, former music exec John Voigtmann, found a rundown farmhouse in Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia, a sweeping region of rolling, verdant hills not far from Siena, and decided to renovate it. La Bandita sits in the sweet spot between a modern boutique hotel and the rustic beauty that travelers seek in the countryside. Intimate but rambling, the property offers guests the chance to unwind in the comforts of a well-appointed house, albeit a very stylish one: think Vitra chairs, exposed brick, and chic pops of color, which liven up the plaster walls. There’s also a fire pit outside to stave off the chill when the Tuscan sun sets.

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If you’re more of a city mouse, the pair also have you covered: they recently opened La Bandita Townhouse, a 12-room hotel settled squarely in the heart of Pienza, a Renaissance village that offers visitors a native taste of la dolce vita. Wake with a cappuccino, take a stroll to the piazza for a cornetto, and marvel at the absolute beauty of life in this quiet town, which is paced perfectly for slowing down and savoring every moment.  Neatly appointed rooms offer
all the comforts of home, kids eat for free, and Cohane and Voigtmann are often on hand to offer personal suggestions and insights into the best way to tune into the local vibes. Nearby wine meccas Montalcino and Montepulciano beckon; we suggest leaving plenty of time for swirling and sipping. In short: right now the dollar is (kinda)strong, and we can’t imagine a better summer vacation than an escape to a country where gelato is a perfectly acceptable breakfast. Are you packing yet?

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