At Cannero Riviera, on the banks of Lake Maggiore just a few miles from Switzerland, one flower becomes a citizen of honour each year in mid March. Cannero organises the "Mostra delle Camelie"
A little lakeside village of a little over 1000 inhabitants, Cannero Riviera enjoys a delightful position on the Piedmont side of Lake Maggiore, just a few miles from nearby Switzerland. It has a medieval castle on an island, now little more than a picturesque ruin making the panoramic views particularly mysterious while inspiring reflections on the distant past of this pretty little village with its attractive Belle Epoque architecture and promenade.
Generally the Italian lakes are visited from early spring to late autumn, thanks to the characteristically mild climate. Despite this, anyone visiting in winter can only admire the winter landscape and breathtaking views on cold, sunny winter days that are so often all blue skies, snowy peaks and charming villages reflected in clear waters. As pretty as picture postcard views. And that's not all, lovers of winter sports will find they can enjoy an enthusiastic day's skiing at Mottarone or in the Walser village of Macugnaga about 90 minutes drive away.
From spring onwards, however, the lake flora bursts into flower and a series of events are also put on throughout the season.
At Cannero Riviera, on the banks of Lake Maggiore just a few miles from Switzerland, one flower becomes a citizen of honour each year in mid March. Cannero organises the "Mostra delle Camelie", or Camelia Show, this flower being defined the "Winter Queen". Unique and ancient examples can be admired together with spectacular arrangements of this gorgeous flower which has over two hundred varieties.
All year round, active walkers and hikers will enjoy the “Nordic Walking Park”, six different itineraries along the banks of Lake Maggiore. All the paths are well signposted in various colours and offer different distances and levels for all tastes. From 2.26 Km and 31 meters altitude for the more "urban" walk to the more difficult Cannero-Ronchè-Donego-Cassino-Cannero, over 5,3 Km climbing to 229 meters altitude and even longer walks with views over the Alps and Monte Rosa. At the beginning of each walk there are tables indicating the calories that will be burnt off on each path ... a great guide to what local gourmet delights you can indulge in later!
There are many interesting sightseeing tours to be enjoyed on Lake Maggiore: Intra-Verbania, Stresa with its islands, Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescaori and Isola Madre, Arona with its boutiques and top quality shopping. Not forgetting charming Lake Orta with its medieval village of the same name and the little island called Isola di San Giulio. and for lovers of Switzerland, Locarno and Ascona await.
And for the golf enthusiast the Golf des Iles at Stresa.
Lake Maggiore is all this and much more: sightseeeing, sport, great food, local color and fun!
For safety reasons, the public boats to not stop at the two litle islands where the ruined medieval castles can be found. But the islands continue to bewitch visitors to Cannero Riviera. The islands and castles were the scene of many a bloody battle and uprising in medieval times, later passing into the hands of the powerful Borromeo family who built a fort there, the Vitaliana, which, however, soon began to crumble for various reasons among which bad administration, becoming a hideaway for smugglers, a refuge for fishermen and even a place where counterfeit gold coins were minted. With their aura of mystery, there have long been rumours of strange noises coming from the castles, the sound of clashing metal blades ringing forth .... this may well be, but one thing is certain, the beauty and charm of Cannero and its castles inspire the dreams of all visitors, who in their imagination cannot help but relive the ancient gestures of those brave soldiers as they forged history hundreds of years ago.
Do not miss a visit to the Citrus Park called Parco degli Agrumi di Cannero Riviera which has been created to recover the ancient agricultural traditions of the area which historically, thanks to the mild climate, has been linked to the cultivation of citrus fruits. It is a celebration of the past but creates a perfect connection with other museums illustrating local activities and lifestyle. From May to August you can walk through the groves of "local" citrus carefully set out and displayed while you learn of the cultivation of the fruit bearing plants by means of the illustrated panels which are placed in a little house in the citrus grove which is in fact a mini-museum on the theme.
You really must also visit the nearby village of Cannobio as these two lakeside resorts are most popular in the Nordic walking itineraries, going through citrus groves, camelias and ancient gateways .and quite gorgeous scenery. See the pretty center of Cannobio with the Santuario della Santa Pietà, where a miracle took place long ago in 1522. A small painting on parchment depicting Christ in the arms of Mary and St John the Evangelist which is today to be seen in a niche in the center of the main altar, was seen to bleed. The wounds on Jesus' body came to life, as it were, and drops of blood shed on to the bench below. The following evening, a small bloody rib emerged from the wounded side of Jesus and was taken in a procession to the nearby Parish Church where it is to this day kept in a reliquary which was donated to Cardinal Federico Borromeo. The church also boasts a fine canvas by the prestigious 16th century painter, sculptor and architect Gaudenzio Farraris. This just has to be seen before returning to the more worldly enjoyment of the fine promenade at Cannero with its Belle Epoque villas and its small but charming museum.
Cannero Riviera is on the Piedomtese side of LAke Maggiore and Piedmont is a well known as an Italian region with a great many specialities and gourmet traditions which are popular onthe lake too as well as the local lake fish dishes.As Lake Maggiore is an Alpine lake it shares many specialities with the mountains and cuisine is often robust and flavorsome with aromas and fragrances that remind one of the the many kinds of landscape in this famously beautiful region which so assiduosly guards and cherishes its gastronomic heritage. Among the better known specialities are the cheeses, salamis and cured meats, game and procini mushrooms, Piedmontese meats such as Fassone, the piping hot yellow polenta which is served with so many differentrich, meaty dishes ad much more besides. ,
Cannero Riviera and nearby Cannobbio offer various opportunities to taste local and international cuisine. The lake fish is naturally a common ingredient and the finest are perch, trout, pike, pike perch and whitefish to name but a few.
There are many restaurants and wine bars where delightful food is served with local wines from Colline Novaresi and Alto Piemonte known for the importanti Nebbiolo grape as well as some fine whites such as Erbaluce di Caluso. This is unquestionably a perfect area for foodies!
The lakeshore villages of Cannero Riviera and Cannobio have always been a popular destination for lovers of the colors and aromas of Italian street markets. The Sunday Cannobio market is extensive and runs through the main square along the lake front attracting local Italian tourists and curious international visitors from nearby Switzerland. The area also offers a good number of fine shops, boutiques and wine bars as does the little lakeside town of Intra less than 15 minutes drive away. Gravellona Toce also has a good mall for the occasional rainy day and the Alessi design outlet in the small town of Omegna on charming Lake Orta is well worth the slightly longer 40 minute drive. For anyone wishing for the classic shop till you drop experience, Milan and all the finest design Made in Italy is no more than 90 minutes from Cannero.
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