Hotel Cannero Lakeside Resort. Relaxing Days by Lake Maggiore
Views of Cannero Riviera's waterfront & Hotel Cannero
As we descend the two lane street leading straight to the shores of Lake Maggiore, I can't stop but admire the beautiful houses surrounded by perfectly manicured greenery. The comune of Cannero Riviera seems strangely quiet in early afternoon. We are barely greeted by a cat looking down to us from a fence. But the scenery is bound to change once we reach the waterfront. We turn left, following the sign pointing us towards Hotel Cannero, and as we pass a number of restaurants, it feels like everybody gathered here for lunch. You can't blame them, the views are spellbinding and the blissful May sun makes the water look like someone spilled diamonds in the lake.
Cannero Riviera is small. It barely has over one thousand residents and it can easily pass unperceived. Nested between all-time favorites like Stresa and Locarno, and with no attraction in particular to catch the attention of the tourists, you can very well pass through without ever knowing it. The main road connecting the towns and villages along the Western shore of Lake Maggiore crosses the upper end of Cannero Riviera, nothing special if you ask me. The magic only happens once you start to explore the narrow streets leading to the water.
We find Hotel Cannero at the end of the promenade. The atmosphere is relaxed in spite of the considerable number of people having lunch both on the terrace and inside the restaurant. We are greeted by Signora Maria Carla, the owner of the hotel, an extremely nice lady, in her golden years. It soon becomes clear to us that she's the one setting the tone for all the staff to have such friendly and helpful dispositions. And I have to say, everyone here is incredibly nice, 100% of the time, and my husband and I already feel at home five minutes after arriving. While we check in and our luggage is taken care of, I observe the surroundings, the gorgeously painted doors and hips of fresh cut flowers. I'm impressed already!
Then we are given a short tour of the hotel. We pass from one building to another, sometimes through corridors that retrace original alleyways. Hotel Cannero very much resembles a village in itself. The various buildings patched together come each of them with a different history and character, but there is a sense of continuity and harmony. We learn that one of the buildings was once a monastery, another an aristocratic residence... We especially like the last one, with its beautifully painted wooden beams, classy furniture and comfortable armchairs and we promise ourselves to come back later, maybe after dinner, to relax in the company of the music.
When we finally get to our room, we find fresh oranges and home-made marmalade waiting for us on the table. The room is spacious, and the bed is comfy, with a nicely painted headboard. But before really checking the room, I run to the balcony to glance at the views. I love this scenery, and just as I make myself comfortable in one of the chairs, I see a boat approaching. The landing stage is just in front of the hotel, which makes it very easy to explore other towns around the lake.
After we freshen up, we go downstairs and Signora Maria Carla introduces us to her son. Hotel Cannero has been in their family for four generations and they have many stories to share. Later we meet the daughter-in-law who is in charge 'of the flowers and the wine'. She organizes a free wine tasting every afternoon in the hotel's cellar so guests can choose their wine for dinner or buy a bottle or a few as a souvenir. The three of them are natural, genial hosts, and talk proudly of the region's food, the beauty of their hometown and the blessings of the sheltered bay Cannero Riviera is situated in, its microclimate, oranges and wine.
A wine tasting is organized every afternoon in the cellar
When we venture outside the hotel, on a pleasant walk before dinner, we fall head over heels for this place. This is the kind of flawless Italian landscape that postcards were created for.
For dinner in the hotel's restaurant guests can opt either for the menu of the day or a la carte. We alternate the two options, especially since the menu seems an awful lot of food to us. I especially enjoy the salad buffet, but everything else is just as yummy and fresh and the presentation of each dish is flawless. We have dinner on the lakeside terrace and inside when the evenings are chillier, and we can't stop thinking just how perfect this place is to kickstart or rekindle a romance. All guests are relaxed and carefree, and we can really tell this as we watch the kids playing hide-and-sick after dark on the little streets of the historical center behind the hotel, while the parents enjoy a last drink by the lakefront.
In the morning they manage to surprise us again with the abundance to be found at the breakfast table. I love, love, love the cute knitted hens sitting on the boiled eggs. Also I can't have enough of the panna cotta and orange marmalade, both an absolute must try. But there are uncounted for dishes to be sampled, from cold cuts and locally produced cheeses, to fresh fruits and vegetables, cereals, pastries, tarts, etc. Our favorite place to have breakfast is on the terrace by the restaurant, so we can easily replenish our plates if needed so, while also enjoying the breathtaking views.
There are plenty of spots to be discovered both inside and around the hotel, and it's impossible for us to get bored. One day we even visit Villa Taranto in Verbania, but the impressive Isola Madre and Isola Bella are not far away either and can be accessed either by bus or boat, and of course, by car. However, we both like spending time in Cannero Riviera best, for it is an incredibly peaceful place. And though small, it has plenty to offer, and more secrets waiting to be discovered than many famous places (hint: try to find the little port, the old lavatory, the 3,000 years old Egyptian cat and the invisible Jesus).
It pains us to leave, and as Signora Maria Carla and her son wave goodbye from the porch of the hotel, we promise to be back someday.