On Sunday morning Cannobio hosts one of the most beautiful markets of Lake Maggiore, a whirlwind of colours and aromas that transport us into the most authentic Italian summer.
It’s wonderful to get lost among straw bags, sandals and hats, frivolous dresses and the scent of fruit and roast chicken. It’s great fun to barter the price of bracelets and necklaces, scarves and foulards, among fresh flowers and silk skirts that flutter in the wind.
There is an air of vacation, a feeling of carefree joy among the colourful stalls and the narrow streets of the historic center.
Cannobio, on Sunday mornings, is filled with a dense bustle of people: the large and lively weekly market takes place right on the road that flanks the lake, a fixed and very characteristic appointment. Many colourful products, fruit and vegetables, useful and useless objects are placed in plain sight to attract the gaze of tourists who also come from nearby Switzerland to savor the relaxed atmosphere of an Italian Sunday morning. Cappuccini and brioches at the tables of the bars or aperitifs in the premises overlooking the large Piazza Vittorio Emanuele are the side dish for the exhibits of the street vendors, who cheerfully attract their customers.
The wonderful lakefront is also overlooked by many pretty bars, restaurants and pizzerias, craft and antique shops. Under the shade of the arcades, tables and armchairs welcome those who want to rest for a while, while the boat lands at the pier and many boats glide over water that shines in the reflection of the sun.
The colourful facades of the houses, the picturesque harbor, the tolling of the bells and the shouting of the people accompany me on my walk among the stalls, while I try to decide between a pair of comfortable Birkenstocks or the stylish ankle boots that I really fell in love with...
I also like to browse in some shop windows, buy a newspaper and sit on a bench to leaf through it calmly or lie down on the Lido lawn, among the branches of trees and waves that calmly lap at the beach.
If you happen to be in these parts, it is also worth visiting the Rocca Vitaliana, better known by the name of "Castelli di Cannero", three rocky islets on which the ruins of ancient fortifications built at the time of the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines are located. They are fascinating ruins that tell us stories of medieval fiefdoms, smugglers and counterfeiters, pirates and fishermen. These "castles" that emerge from the lake with all the mysterious charm typical of ancient ruins, illuminated by the sunset or immersed in the spectacle of the dawn, represent one of the most picturesque views of Cannobio, one of the best known symbols of Lake Maggiore.
And while I observe their profile which seems to float on the water, I think that a Sunday like this is a real gift, an injection of good humor, a breath of contagious joy.