They are called Cannero Castles, despite its location in the municipality of Cannobio, three rocky islets located in the Lake Maggiore in front of Cannero Riviera, on two of which are the ruins of ancient fortifications.
They were built between the eleventh century and the twelfth century and called "Malaga".
Towards the end of the fourteenth century there dwelt Mazzardi brothers, called "Mazzarditi", originating in Ronco (of Cannock fraction). At the time in Cannobio there was a bitter dispute between the Guelphs and Ghibellines: between late 1403 and early 1404 the Mazzardi took possession of the praetorian palace of Cannobio, Cannero invaded, they captured the Malpaga from which for several years accomplished raids along the entire Verbano without disdaining the use of violent methods in order to create a sort of small "private state".
In 1412 he became Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti. In 1414, following the pleas of the inhabitants of the coast, Filippo Maria sent an army of 500 men, led by Giovanni Lonati to defeat Mazzarditi. The Malpas, after a brief siege, was razed and Mazzarditi took the road of exile, like the castle lords of Valtravaglia, the Franchignoni, which similarly had taken advantage of the weakness of the central government to create a similar rule to that hazard .
The Cannobio feud was granted (1441) Vitaliano I Borromeo passed to his son Philip, then John III (called "the Just"), then the children of these, Gilberto, Camillo, Louis, Francis, possession including even the small archipelago in which it was built the fortified garrison of the five Mazzardi.In 1519 Lodovico Borromeo built a fortress called "Vitaliana" in honor of the founder of the Padua family Borromeo.
After the death of Louis the fortress was gradually left to itself, the proximity to the shore made it difficult to defend.
Over the following centuries it became a refuge for smugglers, it was used by fishermen and was even home to a gang of counterfeiters. Currently there are only the ruins of the ancient fortifications and ' The ruins' are one of the most picturesque views of the lake, colonized by several species of water birds like the mute swan, herring gull, Goosander, which nest in sheltered inaccessible ravines.
In the last few years it has been repeatedly assumptions restructuring of rocca Vitaliana. The operation aimed at making tourists "usable" the fortress, however, is opposed by environmental groups.