I can't really add that much new about Francesco, who was clearly born to be a host, as all the reviews indicate. Our story is that we arrived just as he was going to go out for the afternoon (having just sent me an email to warn me that he would not be back for several hours) and yet he stayed on for a half hour making sure that we had everything we could possibly want. He advised us to go the the Temples by bus and not only gave us a precise description of where to catch one (in front of the station at the other end of Via Atenea, the main shopping street at the bottom of the hill described below - turn left and walk the length of the street till you get to the park, then bear right) and which one to catch (1,2 or 3) but even gave us free bus tickets which had apparently been left behind by a previous guest.
I can, however, try to make a contribution to finding the place - a notoriously difficult task (even though it looks easy on the map). Having been warned that the SatNav was not going to be of great use in finding Piazza Lena itself, I set it to look for Via Plebs Rea on the theory that once we got that far, the detailed directions he provides would do the rest. This worked out a treat: Via Plebs Rea lead to Via Delle Mure, which turned back on itself before going into a tiny roundabout, where the trick is indeed NOT to take the first turning towards the Duomo but to go across and take the second turning down the hill. The hill is steep and the street is narrow. It does change its name from Via Duomo to Via Matteotti to Via Bac Bac, but there are signs if you can take your eyes off the narrow street to see them. The key at this stage is NOT to think of Piazza Lena as a Piazza but rather as a somewhat wider point in the road with what looks like a tiny parking lot (for maybe 15 cars) on your right in front of the (hopefully defunct) Hotel Napoli and the Terra e Mare restaurant. The turn into the parking lot (which has a wall along the road side) is very sharp and you will be lucky if there are any spaces in it, but you still want to stop if at all possible to leave your bags. It would be good to have Francesco's number on your phone in anticipation of this moment (and perhaps better if you have agreed a time of arrival with him in advance. If you pass a vegetable display on your right, you have gone too far. After the 'piazza' there is only one more piece of road (with a big dumpster) where you can hope to park before you get to the main street and get swept away. There is in fact parking in the real piazzas ahead of you, but it is quite a schlep back with your luggage and an amazingly long drive to have another shot at parking near Piazza Lena.
The bottom line is that it is definitely worth the effort once you get settled in, although you may want to leave your car permanently parked until your ultimate departure (although I would suggest resisting that temptation to visit the fabulous beaches along the coast south of Agrigento).
At Francesco's recommendation, we ate at the Expanificio and the Ruga Reale which you can reach by turning right at the main street at the bottom of the hill and going through the big piazza with the theatre in it. Each was very good, with the Expanificio having the more adventurous menu and the Ruga Reale the better atmosphere.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The B&B Terrazze di Montelusa is the result of the renovation of a mansion belonging to our family since 1822 (Casa Messina Bonfiglio), in the historical center of Agrigento. We offer three larger bedrooms, one suite and one junior suite. All of them are furnished with style and equipped with air-conditioning, private bathrooms, TV, mini-bar and free internet. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Terrazze Di Montelusa b&b
- Terrazze Di Montelusa Hotel Agrigento
- B&B Terrazze Di Montelusa Agrigento, Sicily