Tile roofs. Terraced, unfussy gardens. Wisteria in bloom everywhere, along with pansies, peonies, tulips and iris. The sun is hot. Lake views are blinding. Weekend-warrior cyclists in black spandex speed past in a blur. Tiny fishing boats sputter by with the day’s catch. I vow never to take this view for granted.
We are repeat renters because we do not like surprises. Our apartment is a sunny rectangle with sleek kitchen along one wall and floor-to-ceiling windows on the other. A small dining table, turquoise dining chairs and boxy leather sofa take up most of the space – a molto modern mash-up.
A battered coffee-table book on the bellezza of Italy is the largest object in the room. And of course, an outsize television that happily pulls in several British channels on a rainy afternoon.
The lid of my favorite sauté pan is broken. We descend the 111 steps to the tiny hardware store in the village. I show the proprietor which piece is missing. He calls his pimply assistant, Paulo, to discuss the problemo.
They grow passionate. They shout and wave their arms. I back out of the shop and decide to use a few bits of wire and a wine cork. Problem solved. I wonder how long their discussion will go on. I wonder if they will notice that I am gone.
Spacious is a Frame of Mind
Our terrazza panoramica provides a sunny spot for cocktails or breakfast on a sturdy wraparound deck with rattan chairs and a clever drying rack. Stunning lake views razzle-dazzle the apartment and make it seem spacious and grand. On rainy days, it’s cozy and quiet; the fog adds a pearly glow.
Although it’s warm, a small, steady stream of smoke curls from my neighbor’s chimney, the one with the miserable dog who yelps and barks all day. The dog is alone from sunrise to sunset, and although he lives in the most beautiful place in the world, he still gets lonely, povero cucciolo.
The Italians are still wearing their quilted winter coats. It’s sad that no one is out for the evening passagiata, a special time to see and be seen – one of my favorite customs.
Stranieri In Paradise
As clouds thicken and wet fog rolls in, we make a new friend. Laura Barelli is working with her brother Giuseppe and husband Giorgio, renovating their ancestral home across the stream. We wave and jump up and down when we see each other from our balconies. Their first cozy apartment is on Airbnb – if you rent it, we will wave to you, too! Check out its stunning lakeview at left.
Rain or shine, there is no place I’d rather be. •