Someone called them "the northernmost citrus fruit of Italy": they are the wonderful fruits of winter to which the Cannero Riviera dedicates a very special holiday every year.
At that time of the year when winter gives way to spring, the celebration is repeated: a large festival dedicated to citrus fruits in the streets of the Cannero Riviera, a very pretty village on the Piedmontese shore of Lake Maggiore, almost at the border with Switzerland. Thanks to its enviable position, in a natural inlet that protects it from the cold winter winds, this small lake town enjoys a very mild climate that has favored the development of lush Mediterranean vegetation: rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias flourish. Olive trees, palms and, of course, citrus fruits proliferate!
These fruits with a thousand-year history are a real rarity in northern Italy, but here in Cannero, between the mountains and the lake, they have found an ideal environment since the fifteenth century and today represent a corner of the Mediterranean on the banks of the Verbano.
In the first days of March the village is tinged with yellow, orange, green ... the village decides on a theme, the restaurants offer dedicated menus, cooking lessons and guided visits to the "Parco degli agrumi", catamaran trips and activities for the children. And then there are the open gardens, tastings, exhibitions and concerts, while a thousand shades of colors, aromas and flavors entice the visitor.
In recent years the event has been enriched by some artistic installations that owe their success to the fact that they evocatively enhance the landscape, with colored spheres that float on the water and provide the opportunity for a different take on the territory.
The beauty of these sun-colored fruits, precious witnesses of biodiversity, is truly incredible: oranges, mandarins, chinottoes, grapefruits, lemons, clementines and bergamot are not just delicious fruits to taste, but also an inexhaustible source of vitamins and a precious source of good health , with their cheerful and sunny colors.
And then I cannot forget the "canarone", an eponymous citrus, a true elite product, characteristic of Cannero, together with the pigmented oranges, capable of competing with their cousins that mature on the slopes of Etna.
The Cannerese are very tied to the citrus tradition and with them they prepare jams, candied peel, colognes and many gastronomic specialties, including the 'Bercencione', an organic tea flavored with bergamot, citron, orange and lemon.
Of course, this festival can be an opportunity to discover Cannero and its medieval streets, to admire the elegant residences that overlook the lakefront, to walk along the pier of the port and maybe visit the famous "castles of Cannero", located on two rock islets, reachable only by boat. Also worth a visit are the church of San Giorgio and the square of frescoes, where some murals illustrate episodes of local history.
A day here in Cannero is just what it takes to renew one's energy and greet the imminent arrival of spring. While wandering around the stands and the citrus exhibitors, I think of you, dear friends of La Darbia, and I stock up on the fruits of the sun for when you come to visit us ...