Riva Lofts is a unique and carefully crafted architect-designed boutique hotel by the riverside in Florence.
How would you describe La Bandita Townhouse in a nutshell?
La Bandita Townhouse is a small and stylish boutique hotel set inside the historic center of Pienza, one of Tuscany’s most charming little villages. It gives you the opportunity to experience authentic Tuscan life.
Please tell us about the history of the building.
The building dates back to the founding of Pienza in the 15th century. Before it was a small boutique hotel, it was a place for nuns to live in, work and serve. For many generations they offered confirmation classes as well as regular schooling for the children so that the villagers all still have memories of the building.
In the end there were only two nuns left who were soon going to enter retirement. Their order was closing down the building, so they were looking to sell. Part of it had fallen into disrepair by that time. We were looking to give it a second life and turn it back into an active part of the community.
How would you describe the atmosphere of the hotel?
We tried to create a balance by preserving the beautiful old DNA of the building while bringing a really fresh, modern design to the furnishings of the hotel. We wanted to make the old very well maintained and the new comfortable and not jarring. It’s difficult to get the right balance, but I think we’ve succeeded.
The modern design is rather muted with only few bright colors, as well as a lack of ornamentation, keeping it simplistic and minimal. It is modern and stylish without seeming strange or whimsical in such an old building.
To you personally, what’s so special about staying at La Bandita?
For three or four days or however long you stay, you will really feel part of a village. This is something our guests highlight again and again. They really value that they had a chance to experience authentic daily life in Tuscany.
How long do your guests usually stay at La Bandita?
The average vacation is about three or four nights. People usually come from Rome or Florence. They’re spending a little time in the cities where there’s a lot to see, and then want to spend some time in the countryside to explore, visit the small villages, and partake in wine tastings. There’s a lot to do in the area without having to rush to see everything.
What’s been the biggest reward to you running a small hotel?
It has been a very rewarding experience to spend most of my year at La Bandita and to be able to run my own business. Although I’m busy working, the idea that we’re living here in a small village and managing a business is a great blessing.
I have also met amazing people in the process. Sometimes I feel like we’re in the middle of nowhere here, but the whole world passes through. There’s always somebody new coming in from all over the world, so we get the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people.