By the Lake
If there’s a better setting for a butcher’s shop than the one enjoyed by Da Luciano then we’d love to see it. Straddling the hillside in Laglio - a small village a winding drive up from the town of Como proper - a cluster of chairs and tables are covered by a small green awning, facing out towards that lake, shimmering emerald as afternoon blends into early evening, storm clouds gathering overhead.
“I think it’s going to rain,” says our friend Giorgio, swirling his spritz.
Founded by Luciano Motti and his wife Marilena, later joined by sons Andrea and Alessandro in running the family business, Da Luciano is a butcher, and a bar, and a small-but-perfect restaurant. We’re brought meatballs and charcuterie, greeted by signore Motti who still wears a white butcher’s coat. George Clooney’s house is just down the road, apparently he’s a good neighbour.
The lake, in person, is spectacular. Do all of those shades of green ever lose their impact?
The rain arrives as promised, a semi-biblical downpour, along with great rumbling thunder building off in the distance. It’s been a wet year, we’re told. There had been plans to head elsewhere after a while, but when you’re undercover as a summer storm rolls over Lake Como… you’re sort of forced to order another spritz. Michael’s friend Guido arrives on his eggshell white Vespa, and we meet Nathan and Liza, young Como locals who have just been for an early evening dip in the lake. “Cold, but it’s the best,” says Nathan, who also happens to own a couple of restaurants himself, Una Finestra Sul Lago, and another named Onda nearby.
Sometimes Italy lives up to the best version of a stereotype, an outdoor table, conversation, food, wine, new faces dropping in then departing on the back of mopeds. At some point the rain stops and the night begins to cool, stars speckled in the clear sky. Nathan invites us to his restaurant for a nightcap, wine from his cellar and music on the speakers, the lake is still and silent somewhere down below.
“Welcome to our home,” says Nathan, joining us on the balcony and pointing out towards the silhouette of the water, “Not bad, right?”