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In early times only the upper (Bargo) part of Cannobio was inhabited. The area close to the lake began to be populated later towards the 10 th C.
Cannobio lived through the difficulties of feudal subjection and as this slowly declined it transformed into a free City State. Its history was deeply related to the ups and downs of the duchy of Milan after the population gave itself spontaneously to the Visconti family.
The population of the village was divided into two classes; the "Vicini" or nobles, who were descendants of the founders of the village, and the "Appoggiati", those who came later. The "Vicini" had all the powers and privileges, while the "Appoggiati" had limited rights and were dependent upon the "Vicini".
It was therefore a refined aristocratic and flourishing village with characteristic features in the built forms, some of which are still evident today.