When you wind eastward through the Alps from Switzerland into Italy, the first lake you will encounter is sprawling Lake Maggiore and rustic Cannobio, a village on the west bank. You’ll recognize it by its sun-faded colorful buildings and pebbled streets. Since there are only about 5,000 residents, it’s noticeably quieter than the larger, more built-up towns on the lake like Locarno and Stresa.
The village center is located on the highest point. Narrow alleys and steep stairways wind through the cramped 17th and 19th century buildings toward the lakefront.
Piazza di Vittorio Emanuele III and pastel buildings with picturesque porticoes and street-level shops and restaurants line the promenade.
The entire village is paved with bocorette, round pebbles, and ancient stones.
The first documented mention of Cannobio dates to 909. During medieval times, the town became a center for wool, tanning and lumber industries.
Behind the town, roads lead over a river and into the mountains of the Cannobina Valley and Val Grande National Park.