The ruins of fortresses built on the water
The Castelli di Cannero are an icon of Lake Maggiore, located on two of the three islands in the lake. Here, in the 15th century, stood Malpaga Castle, built by the Mazzarditi brothers during disputes between the Guelphs and Ghibellines.
A century later, the Rocca Vitaliana fortress was built at the order of Milanese nobleman Ludovico Borromeo. Today, you can admire the ruins of the latter castle by boat or on board a solar-powered catamaran. The ruins emerge from the water and are reflected in it, creating a magical effect.
Located opposite Cannero Riviera, the rocky islets have been used by fishermen and smugglers over the centuries, both before the fortresses were built and after they fell to ruin. Today, they offer picturesque views of the lake and are inhabited by many birds.
The castles are steeped in legend. According to one, the Mazzarditi brothers were thrown into the lake with a stone around their necks after their defeat. According to another, at the bottom of the lake are their treasure chests, because they threw them into the water instead of giving them to Duke Filippo Maria Visconti, who had defeated them.