Labor Day weekend in lovely Lesa, Italy on Lake Maggiore… Part two

Saturday morning, we woke to rain.  I didn’t mind, since we’ve had a pretty dry summer up here in Germany.  I’ve kind of been missing overcast days.  I usually feel more creative when it rains.  I hadn’t seen Bill all week and was kind of looking forward to just hanging out with him.  I was also feeling inspired to do some writing.  Bill went to the market to get provisions for breakfast while I got to work on my main blog.

Italy’s croissants are kind of different.  I don’t even think they call them croissants.  Down there, they’re called cornetti.  The ones Bill got were slightly sweet.  Cornetti look much like croissants do, but aren’t really the same and they are probably the one food I like somewhat less, probably because they contain less butter than typical croissants do.  On the other hand, my love for these traditional rolls go up when they are filled with something.  Last time we visited Italy, Bill found some that were full of custard.  That just made my fat cells sing like it was Christmas time!  Sadly, this time, the cornetti were empty.

My husband is a creature of habit when it comes to a lot of things.  For some reason, when we take these trips, no matter where we are, he gets croissants (or cornetti), eggs, and whatever the local ham and cheese is.  He fries me an egg, scrambles himself one, and serves me orange juice and coffee.  Bill eats the cheese, while I enjoy a little ham.  The dogs beg for a bite.  Then we usually decide what we’re going to do with the day.  On Saturday, due to the rain, we weren’t motivated to hurry.

Ferry stop.


A few shots of the tiny downtown…


In Lesa, you can pay five euro cents and fill your own bottle with fresh water.  We also noticed a vending machine outside of the local pharmacy, probably stocked with condoms, aspirin, and the like.

Since it was raining and Lesa isn’t exactly a metropolis, we decided our big event of the day would be lunch in “town”, as it were.  The little village of Lesa doesn’t consist of much, but it’s between a couple of larger towns.  For instance, Arona, is a bigger town maybe ten minutes away.  If we’d wanted to, we could have gone there.  But I had seen pictures of Lesa on Google and wanted to see it.  We ended up having lunch at a restaurant called Il Rapanello.  Looking on Trip Advisor, I see this place gets rather mixed reviews.  Many people comment that the food is good, but the service is hit or miss.  When we approached to inquire about lunch, we were told that they only serve fish.  I love fish, so that was fine with me.  We went in and had a seat.

Below are some pictures from our big Saturday lunch… the first decent food I’d had in a week, since I tend to be lazy about cooking when Bill goes away.

The unassuming front of the restaurant.  On nice days, you can cross the street and dine outside by the lake.


Obligatory shot of Bill after he chose wine for us.  He had help from the waiter, who also appeared to be the proprietor.  The guy spoke excellent English and warmed up to us after I told him he had served me the best meal I’d had in a long time.  


A nice local dry white… 


And some homemade focaccia.


While we were waiting for our food, I noticed there was a face on the exhaust pipe of the heater.  The waiter told me it was Miles Davis, which I never would have guessed. Obviously, it was done on purpose, but at first I wondered if maybe the face was born out of luck.


I was really enjoying the music they were playing in the restaurant.  It started with Dire Straits and proceeded to Santana and then, of all people, John Denver.  Actually, I think they really must have liked Mr. Denver, since they played several songs in a row by him.  I knew Germans are partial to John Denver, but apparently he is missed in Italy, too.  I didn’t mind at all.  I would much rather listen to him than Euro trash dance music that usually plays nowadays.

I ordered the fish of the day, which was “sea bass”, otherwise known as branzino or Wolfbarsch.  It was cooked in cellophane and served with watercress, cherry tomatoes, roasted potatoes, capers, and olives…

Sans plastic…  this was so good!  My tastebuds came alive at the taste of the fresh fish, cooked to perfection and not at all dry.  

Bill had rare tuna served with caramelized onions, salted potatoes, and balsamic vinegar.  He usually doesn’t go for anything with onions, but these were very sweet.  Later, I could still smell the onions, but they were so good it was worth it.

They aren’t lying when they say they only have fish at Il Rapanello.  If you don’t like fish, your best bet is to go somewhere else.  I did spot one couple enjoying mussels and clams served with gnocchi.  You can only get that for two or more people.

We decided to have dessert.  Bill had panna cotta with berry sauce.  It was extremely fresh, like the milk that went to make it had just come from the cow.

I had “chocolate bread”.  That was how the waiter described it.  It was like a bread made of chocolate and served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Then we had espresso, pour straight from the pot.


Total damage for our sumptuous feast was about 80 euros.  Afterwards, we headed to the grocery store to pick up provisions for the evening.

Not a big store, but well stocked with good food and serviced by a friendly staff.


When we parked, Bill showed me the “souvenir” he picked up in Italy.  Apparently, he was trying to turn around and had a run in with a cement planter.  Fortunately, our car is almost 13 years old and due to be replaced once Bill gets his next job offer. 

I notice this is a common problem in Italy.  This car was parked next to ours and similarly defiled.

Buy produce or grow your own!

They wrap the bananas at that store…

Mozzarella goes with wine!

And anchovies and sausage do, too.


We got back to the Rose Apartment at about 4:00, just in time to feed the boys their dinner.  While they were eating, we got a visit from the Jack Russell terrier next door.  He was friendly, but he got Zane and Arran excited.  I guess there is a small hole in the fence somewhere.  Because the weather didn’t improve, we decided to stay in and watch TV… namely, The Handmaid’s Tale.  I have already seen all of the episodes so far, but Bill hadn’t.  I had talked about it and he was interested… and sure enough, he quickly got hooked.  So we spent a not so peaceful Saturday evening watching a show about a dystopian version of America.  To be honest, as fascinating as that show is, it gives me nightmares.  However, it also inspires me.

Below are a few more pictures of Lesa as it was on Saturday.  We had better weather Sunday.


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