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Residenza Patrizia in Cannobio

Harbour at Cannobio

Welcome to Cannobio
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population:  4,977 (2003)
Official site:

Cannobio, just a few kilometers north of Verbania, and very close to the border with Switzerland, is one of the most convivial places on the western shores of Lago Maggiore, and a great place to spend some time, even it its just for a day.  But stay longer if you can and avail yourself of the warm  hospitality of one of a number of small hotels in and around the town.  It is a wonderfully romantic place.

Along the lakefront a row of handsome, pastel coloured houses and buildings, many featuring small balconies with imaginative wrought iron railings, creates a great first  impression as you approach from either north or south.  But, Cannobio doesn't just have a pretty face; in  behind, accessible via a number of  alleyways that march up the hillsides, the stone houses of this ancient village are set cheek by jowl, creating an atmosphere with medieval sonorousness that evokes times long past.

So, Cannobio certainly does not lack for charm although it has few sites that pass for noteworthy in and of themselves.  Of the few landmark buildings the town does posess, the most impressive and important is undoubtedly the Santuario della Pieta which was built by Carlo Borromeo in the latter stretch of the 16th century, at a place where, in 1522, a picture of the Pieta, which still hangs in the church,  suddenly began to bleed.  The picture took on even greater significance shortly afterward when the people of Cannobio were spared the ravages of a plague which was devastating other local towns.

The Regione Palace, also known as the Palazzo Mandamentale, built in the 18th century, and the 13th century campanile - or bell tower - adjacent to the modern town hall are worth taking a stroll to see - possibly after you've purchased a gellato at one of the gellaterias along the lake.

To the north of the town there is first a car park, but then a great little beach where you can dip your toes - or much more if one is so inclined - into the cold waters of the lake, and participate in a number of watersports - paddle boats, water skiing and so on.  The beach is bordered by a pleasant and grassy park populated  by a number of picnic tables and sundry shade trees under which one can take refuge from the summer sun.  Beyond the beach, still going north, there are a number of  campsites where you can pitch a tent and unfurl a sleeping bag.

If you're hungry, back in the town there are a number of options.  For those with deep pockets there is Lo Scalo which features successfully innovative takes on old Piemontese dishes.  Easier on the pocket book is the Osteria La Streccia just in from the lakefront on one of the main alleyways.  Or you might head for the garden restaurant at the Antica Stallera, a small hotel on Via P. Zaccehro, which has a menu that includes a number of tasty - and reasonably priced - international dishes and wines.

The Val Cannobio

Don't visit Cannobio without taking a small side trip up the Val Cannobio along the River Cannobino that rushes down from the mountains behind the town and spills into the lake near Cannobio.  There is much to see: about 10 kilometers up the Val Cannobio is a spectacular, narrow gorge, crowed by woods, called the Orridor di Santa Ana.  It's a great place to stand in awe of nature's powers. Once you've been thorougly awe struck, you might want to picnic, take a dip in the river or both.

Look for the Roman bridge, which is still in use.  Beside it there is first, a river beach, second a lovely little chapel for the faithful, and lastly a good restaurant, called the  Ristorante Grotto Sant'Anna, that serves up tasty and well-priced meals. 

You can drive up the Val Cannobio if you like, but if you've got the legs you can hike the distance or, better still, take a bike, which you can rent in Cannobio, at a shop which is kitty-corner to the local tourist office.

By Vian Andrews, November 17th , 2006

Region of Piemonte

46.04N  8.41E


Verbania - 21 km;
Stresa - 37 km;
Lugano - 64 km;
Bellagio - 91 lm;
Como - 93 km;
Milano - 127 km;
Lecco - 135 km;
Turin - 179 km


Places to stay in Cannobio

Tourist Office
Viale Vittorio Veneto
Open Mon-Sat 9AM to Noon and 4:30PM to 7PM.  From October to March it's closed on Thurs.


Visit Lago Maggiore