Cannero Riviera, a small lakeside town on the shore of the upper part of Lake Maggiore, has a climate that is more Mediterranean than sub-alpine, thanks to its sheltered situation and its sunny exposure, giving it the kind of seasons more usually found at the seaside.
Its temperate summers and mild winters are ideal for producing luxuriant vegetation: limes, lemons, olives, oranges, palms, azaleas, rhododendrons and world-famous camellias flourish here.
The town stands on a small alluvial plain formed through the ages by the silty deposits brought down by the River Cannero in spate. The fertile land and healthy climate encouraged early settlement – the presence of a community here is documented as far back as 985.
From the beautifully laid out lakefront promenade the view is enchanting over the lake, the islands of the Castles of Cannero, and the town of Luino on the nearby Lombard shore. The views are also stunning from the well-cared for network of paths on the hillsides immediately behind the town, which lead to pretty country villages surrounded by vineyards and chestnut woods: places like Oggiogno, perched on a rocky spur high above Cannero, or Piancassone, famous for its excellent grappa. Ponte, Cassino and Cheggio are also worth walking to along the mule tracks, which link the lakeside culture of trade, fishing, superb villas and flower-filled gardens with the rural villages where the tenacity of the people has tamed the harsh mountain environment.
Things to look out for along the paths are the many wayside shrines, and a number of round, hollow, stone mortars, which were used for grinding walnuts and flax seed, and pressing olives, as well as for husking cereals and pounding hemp.
Cannero Riviera has a full calendar of events throughout the year, including exhibitions, excursions, guided visits and concerts. Two must-see events are the traditional Spring Camellia Show and the famous Citrus Fruit Festival.