Near Lake Maggiore, on the shores of the Lake Orta, the village Orta San Giulio has a truly romantic atmosphere.
Orta San Giulio is located in Piedmont, on the eastern shore of Lake Orta, near the bigger Lake Maggiore, about 45 km from Novara.
The small village has a historical, artistic and natural heritage that makes it one of the loveliest tourist destinations, but still out of the beaten paths and mostly underrated. Orta San Giulio is perfect for a romantic weekend or a trip out of town. The town is part of the network of the most beautiful villages in Italy, which awards small towns of great historical and artistic interest.
Among the narrow streets of Orta San Giulio, in a place where time seems to have stopped, there is a colorful world to explore. Discover what you can see in this fairy-tale village.
The historical center stands on a small peninsula surrounded by the lake and it winds up the hill. It is a real pleasure to stroll in the village, getting lost in its narrow streets, from which there are picturesque views of the lake and San Giulio Island. Each street hides a small treasure: a colorful house, a craft store with a particular sign, a small fishing boat anchored at the pier, a window decorated with plants and flowers. Piazza Motta is the heart of the village: here are held all the events of the village, from the weekly market to concerts.
One of the buildings that is really worth a visit is the current seat of the town hall, Villa Bossi. It is accessible from a wrought iron door that overlooks the central street of the village. This large residence has undergone different restoration and enlargement works carried out over the centuries by the various prestigious families. Currently, the oldest part still visible dates back to 1600.
3-Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Don’t miss the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, in a panoramic position at the end of a steep cobblestone road that climbs from Piazza Motta. The building dates back to 1485, but the facade is more recent, having been remodeled several times.
From the church, go uphill on Via Gemelli to reach the Sacred Mount, in Italian Sacro Monte. Nietzsche called it “one of the most evocative places in the world”. Sacro Monte is a must-see among the things to see at Lake Orta, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park has 20 frescoed chapels and decorated with 375 life-size terracotta statues, which tell the life of Saint Francis. The construction began in 1590 and the style ranges from the sober Renaissance style to the dazzling Baroque.
5-San Giulio Island
If you spend a day at Lake Orta, you must also visit the tiny Isola San Giulio, which stands in the middle of the lake like a precious pearl. Reach it with the public boat service, departing from Piazza Motta. The crossing takes only 5 minutes, enough to admire the colorful houses of the village and the buildings on the island. The walls of the buildings fall sheer into the waters of the lake, creating a wonderful atmosphere!