Posted Sep 21, 2015
Alessandro and his daughter could not be more welcoming even though we'd changed our arrival times at the last minute. He took such pains to explain all essentials, while she had earlier emailed me with detailed directions from the station. Even so, we had difficulties finding l'Agora; it's in a narrow vicolo off a covered portico between Piazza Erbe and Via Cavour, the street entrance usually blocked by a market stall. The front door and entry corridor are also a bit scruffy. Once inside, however, the apartment is spacious, quiet and well equipped - furnishings are simple (don't expect luxury) but the flat is decorated with some well-chosen paintings.
The location is brilliant, right in the historic centre with most of the main attractions and restaurants just a few minutes walk away. Breakfast - at the excellent and popular Bar Caravatti looking out on Piazza Erbe - is included and l'Agora also offers 10% discounts at three very good restaurants.
The city is undergoing substantial restoration, so there's a lot of scaffolding masking some views but it's still a magical place, a combination of mediaeval wealth and present-day buzz - the young population looks bright and confident and the small locally-owned shops have real style. It's a place for curious visitors rather than just tourist groups.