Cannobio Italy / Lago Maggiore
"We now head back into Italy"
from very expensive Switzerland to our next base, the picturesque town of Cannobio on the shores of Lago Maggiore. This place had the lowest prices for everything that we have seen in years! Our hotel was Villa Belvedere, situated in a park- like setting with massive trees and manicured flower beds, about 3 blocks up from the Lake. The large, second-floor room had a balcony and a large whirlpool bath. This was the only hotel on this trip with a pool, so we spent relaxing time hanging around poolside. The pool’s entry showers were activated by motion detectors to ensure bather sanitation, and two whirlpools in the corner allowed bathers to stand or sit and have jets massage them. Daily breakfast was served in the outdoor garden area, reading chairs set up on the lawns and walking paths were lined with lemon trees. Hotel Belvedere provided 12 free bicycles equipped with baskets and bells for guests and were kept in the La Cantina underground. I rode daily, but Joan preferred the safety of running. Generally we had a most wonderful time there. The Belvedere is part of an Italian hotel network called "Charme and Relax.” We definitely will seek them out in the future.
On one of her morning runs, Joan discovered “Fonte Carilina” up in the hills outside of Cannobio. This mineral spring is where an archbishop of Milan in the 16th century, drank and had his all ailments cured – kidneys, blood, and heart. The healing waters became so popular throughout Europe that the whole town of Cannobio developed to accommodate all the visitors, similar to the spas around Baden-Baden and Bath.
The Centro Storico (Old Town) was easily reached from the Belvedere by walking through local neighborhoods. About 98 percent of the tourists were Germans, which explained why most of our menus and TV stations were in German.
The town had flower-lined sidewalks and paths leading through historic areas, all ending up along the lake lined with outdoor cafes, and gelato stands. We started each day with cappuccino and enjoyed at least one (and sometimes several) gelatos each day. Café Americano was always served with a little pitcher of warmed milk.
Cannobio was so comfortable that we considered extending our stay by canceling our next destination, but a deposit on our Stresa hotel had already been made. So we sadly left Cannobio, thinking no other place could compare.