In Tuscany, the immaculate little Renaissance town of Pienza is where American record executive-turned-hotelier John Voigtmann opened his second hotel, in a 550-year-old former convent, in 2013.
I’m not sure what surprises me – in a good way – every time I visit La Bandita Townhouse (www.la-bandita.com; from £207). It might have been the open‑kitchen bar and restaurant, which perfectly capture the aperitivo mood that prevails in Italy’s cities, but is here expertly recalibrated to match Pienza’s diminutive scale and country-life pace. Or the back garden – one of the largest in town – where canvas directors’ chairs are scattered throughout the tall grass. Or the first-floor lounge, where there are deep modern sofas, a turntable with loads of vinyl, a knockout honesty bar and 3m-tall windows.
Crooked terracotta floors, age-darkened beams and a bit of must in the air used to be fairly non-negotiable prerequisites of my Tuscan holiday; but the Townhouse’s clean, light-suffused spaces and 21st-century take on rustic style are pretty convincing stuff.