About Cannobio

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele III

Casa Doriana is located at 14 Piazza Vittorio Emanuele III, Cannobio, on the town's main piazza directly opposite the old harbour. Cannobio is the last town on the western shore of Lake Maggiore before the Swiss border. The town is a recipient of the Blue Flag of the Foundation for Environmental Education having met the following criteria: excellent water quality, efficient wastewater treatment, environmentally-sustainable waste collection and safety guarantees on all beaches. Cannobio is one of the prime tourist resorts in the Verbano-Cusio-Ossola (VCO) Province, the northernmost province in the Italian region of Piedmont.

Many villages in the region no longer function as working communities but as holiday destinations for non-Italians who have second homes here. In contrast, Cannobio stands out as a normal, working town where multiple generations go about their daily lives. The town boasts a school, theatre, hospital, cultural center and a rich year-round program of events for its residents. Cannobio is a dynamic community where people know each other and young and old interact in a charming, time-worn fashion. One sees this continuously as locals gather in the cafes along the piazza for a morning coffee and chat, a game of cards in the afternoon, and stroll along the promenade for the traditional evening passiagatta.

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele III

The discovery in the area of tombs which may predate the Roman period means that the first settlements here were of great antiquity, and it is likely that Cannobio’s geographical situation made it an important strategic and commercial centre from earliest times.

The first documented mention of Cannobio dates to 909. During medieval times, the town became a center for wool and tanning industries, as well as the lumber trade. Cannobio was named as a village by 1207, and was granted administrative autonomy. The Palazzo della Ragione was constructed by 1291 under the government of the podestà Ugolino da Mandello.

Cannobio

Cannobio was assigned to the archdiocese of Milan and from 1817 was under the authority of the Bishop of Novara. Its "pieve" comprised the areas of Cannobina, Cannero, Brissago and several areas on the eastern side of the lake. The church of St. Vittore, already present in 1076, and with a bell tower from the 13th century, was completely rebuilt between 1733 and 1749. Autonomous rule for the community of Cannobio and its valley came about in 1342, with the spontaneous submission to Luchino and Giovanni Visconti, Lords of Milan. From then on, its administration remained closely connected to the Duchy of Milan.

Cannobio

Legend has it that in 1522 a painting of the Virgin Mary started bleeding. Shortly thereafter a plague swept through the area devastating lakeside and valley towns and villages, but leaving Cannobio relatively unscathed. Religious minds linked these two events and Cardinal Charles Borromeo ordered a chapel to be built to hold the painting which is still there today. The anniversary of the miracle is celebrated every year on January 7 with the festival of the Lumineri or lights. The old town, lakefront, and boats are lit with candles only. The painting of the Virgin Mary is transported by local dignitaries and residents in a candlelit procession through the old town and along the lake. This is followed by a traditional dinner of bean soup and luganighette (beef sausages) served in all the restaurants.

The economy went through a renewal in the 15th and 16th centuries. The built-up area spread from the original nucleus (the village) down towards the lake. The dynamic commercial character of the town is still seen today in the many fine historic buildings lining the streets and the cobbled lanes of the old town. Examples are the 16th century Palazzo Omacini and Palazzo Pironi, with its unusual wedge-shaped profile reminiscent of the prow of a ship.

Cannobio

During the Risorgimento the town repelled an Austrian attack from the lake (May 27 and 28, 1859) and was visited by Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1862. The opening of the lakeside road to the Swiss border in 1863 created favorable conditions for the development of industry, especially silk mills.

In 1927 the territory of the Commune of Cannobio was extended to incorporate some small villages in the vicinity (Traffiume, Sant’Agata, San Bartolomeo). During World War II the people of Cannobio rose up against the Nazi and Italian Fascist Regime, from September 2 to 9, 1944, and proclaimed the Republic of the Ossola. Throughout the town there are plaques on buildings and walls, commemorating citizens who perished in this uprising.

Since the end of the war the community has undergone further changes. From 1995 the town became part of the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola.