Baba, of Italian-Welsh origin, has many years of experience as a home chef. Martina, after studying in London and specialising in event organisation, started to help Baba with his dinners, taking care of table settings and special preparations. About three years ago, walking through the streets of Bellagio, an idea came to them, they could open their own place, which could be a true reflection of their souls and personalities.
This idea came to fruition with Dispensa63, a place off the beaten track and away from the hustle and bustle of the lakeside tourism. It was something of a hidden gem that had opened in the 1950s as the town's first inn, then largely a meeting place where boatmen would stop to chat and drink a glass of wine. Martina and Baba wanted to renovate it, bringing all the energy and special identity of the place back to life, making it a home for themselves, the founders, as well as for the customers. Those arriving would find a large wooden table here, inherited from Baba's grandfather and now ready to welcome diners like a great home dining table.
The exposed stone walls are typical of the lake, and there are illuminated beams at the ceiling, as well as details that are references to Martina's homeland of Puglia, including linen fabrics, and wood and wickerwork. The cuisine is not typical of the lake but comes out of the varied experience and ideas garnered from their travels around the world. The menu changes reflecting the passing seasons and the menu itself if small, usually consisting of a maximum of nine dishes.
This is not just a restaurant but also a place where you can organise a private event or take part in one of the creative workshops set up by Martina to celebrate the importance to the craftsmanship of this area. The name, "dispensa" (larder), refers to the collection, the sets of notes and stories that are catalogued and stored here. Number 63, on the other hand, tells the story of a bet: "how many steps are there from the road to the Dispensa?" The answer is easily said, impossible to miss, sixty-three.