In a medium saucepan, combine the figs and water and let stand for 1 hour. Add the wine, honey, sugar, lemon zest and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the figs until softened, about 20 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the figs to a bowl. Boil the cooking liquid until syrupy, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the strips of lemon zest and the bay leaves and pour the syrup over the figs. Sprinkle with the fennel seeds and serve warm.
Italians match the sweetness of their desserts with light, and slightly sweet, Muscat-based wines to add a grace note to the finale of the meal. Try a Moscato d'Asti.