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Cannero-Riviera on Lake Maggiore, Italy - July 23rd 2009

We had an absolutely wonderful 10 days on Lake Maggiore in northern Italy - it got too hot sometimes, but several fast-moving thunderstorms (mostly overnight) freshened it up again.

We fell in love with this place in 1997 (see here on my web site) and it is still one of our favourite spots on the planet.

Hotel Cannero, opposite the boat pier - no need for a car, we travelled everywhere by boat! The promenade in front of the hotel is quiet and car-free, the road through Cannero Riviera is some way up the hill.

View from our hotel bedroom... We felt like we had come home again!

One of many nice touches all round the hotel

We liked peeking into people's front gardens...

Behind the hotel

The courtyard between the original hotel (left) and the new section (right) - my current desktop wallpaper!

One of the many "Botticelli Kids" who are a special feature of this place

Another of the hotel's nice touches...

The boat pier, start of many outings. There's a very useful website for travel on the lake (and information about the lake).

Evening view from the dining terrace

One of many reasons why family life is so nice in Italy is that older kids take charge of younger kids...

Evening view from the dining terrace - first signs of an approaching overnight thunderstorm

Later the same evening... A hand-held photo - it would have been impossible to take a picture like this in the old days without a tripod. Digital cameras are amazing!

Next morning, the overnight storm clearing away...

... and it's another beautiful day!

Cannero Riviera also has many nice touches, like this one

The little communal port (which is very near the hotel, it's just out of sight at the right hand side of the first photo in this photo-blog)

Ouch! These taps appear all over the area, but not usually attached like this!

Picture on the wall of our local art shop, just up the hill from the hotel. It's by Erika Wagner, a local artist whom we met.

A typical street in Cannero, leading up from the hotel (the "Riviera" got added to "Cannero" in 1946, when the town met criteria for having this term added - before that the town was just called "Cannero")

Another thunderstorm... What the pictures can't show is the effect of the strong down-draughts from the thunder-clouds above, causing rapidly-expanding rings of flattened water on the lake, like something out of a Steven Spielberg movie. When the rain fell the lake turned entirely white, as if being bombarded by huge hailstones.

... which cleared over very quickly

Flood levels in October 2000 and October 1868. The recent flood came several inches above the hotel dining room floor, but caused little damage (water is very clean) - apart from to the back of Raffaele, our wonderful Maitre D, when he was quickly moving the dining furniture upstairs! Sluice gates at the south end of Lake Maggiore prevent lower lying regions around the rivers Ticino and Po being overwhelmed - it's better to flood the lake (more on the floods...).

I just love the colours around the hotel, and all over the area

If you ask for mineral water in many places, you now get micro-filtered water produced on the premises (still or sparkling) in these beautiful glass bottles, which are washed and reused (see the AQUACHIARA web site). The water is usually free, and this practice is great for the environment.

The main Cannero harbour at the other end of the promenade (left hand side of first photo in this photo-blog)

Another beautiful evening...

Villa Taranto, great botanical gardens easily reached by boat

Villa Taranto - the Scotsman who developed it and donated it to Italy

Villa Taranto, looking north

Isola Madre, a garden island which is one of many destinations on the boat schedule

Looking down... the water beyond the rock must be well over 100 feet deep

Isola Madre

Yet another beautiful evening!

Raffaele and young hotel guests

The promenade, still unseasonally quiet. What I haven't photographed are the many well-cared-for dogs that appear on the promenade, sometimes taking themselves for a walk. An amazing thing about Cannero is that there is no dog poop anywhere - not even temporarily, as it were. Must be special breeds of dogs!

The local communal harbour

One of the many "Botticelli Kids". This one was full of beans and always had a smile or a laugh.

The candle floating ceremony that is part of the annual blessing of the lake. Thousands of candles are floated from pedalos.

Procession of the Virgin Mary, at the end of the ceremony

Still life with reusable water bottle!

On the day after the candles ceremony there is always a community concert in front of Hotel Cannero. Lucky guests at the hotel have a grandstand seat, and we always feel privileged to be allowed to be part of this event.

Erika Wagner, our local artist, strolling by and chatting to Sue

Another thing that's changed since 1997 is that we could see the occasional glow of a mobile phone being used by one of the younger orchestra members between musical numbers for a swift text message!


The end of a hot and brassy day... the first time we saw market stalls on the promenade

This smelt good, too!

Storm coming... very welcome

The local cemetery. It's a beautiful place, making you feel that the departed are very much in the thoughts of the living.

Sundial on wall of courtyard around the hotel's swimming pool

The manager Samuele, his mother and co-manager Maria Carla, and his brother-in-law Alfredo. If you read my description of our 1997 visit, Alfredo is the man with the bike and the small daughter Benedetta who is now nearly 14 years old (we missed her by one day!). I have never visited a hotel with nicer people.

Our last evening... I'm sure that we will be back again one day.

If you liked this...

[Some Places To Enjoy Life.. in Italy.]