Places to visit at the lake

The area around Lake Orta has long been a favourite of tourists, thanks to the quiet beauty of the landscape, its fascinating history and its wealth of artistic treasures (principally Romanesque and Baroque architecture).

Orta San Giulio is a one of the top destinations for tourists visiting the Verbano Cusio Ossola province. There is a splendid view of Lake Orta from the 15th century Church of Maria Assunta, a favourite for weddings, from where a flight of broad granite steps leads to Piazza Motta, the main square of the village.

The finest view in the area is to be had from the Sacro Monte of Orta, a complex of chapels built between the late 16th and early 17th centuries, in the woodland setting of the Sacro Monte Special Nature Reserve. A walking trail allows to reach the complex from Piazza Motta.

The medieval atmosphere of Orta is enhanced every June with the Cusio Festival of Ancient Music, when a series of concerts are given in the 18th century Casa Tallone, on San Giulio Island, by internationally famous musicians playing ancient instruments.
The village is also the setting for up-to-date, lively cultural events like “Orta In Fiore”, a Flower Show-Market held in spring in Piazza della Motta, which becomes awash with the colours of local and exotic species of flowers.

One of the most spectacular sacred places of Lake Orta is surely the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rock (Madonna del Sasso) built near the hamlet of the same name on a huge granite rock-face overhanging the lake below. From here, there is an unsurpassed view dominating Lake Orta and the mountains on the eastern shore of the lake, including Mount Mottarone. It is the finishing point of the hiking trail called Le Valli della Fede (The Valleys of Faith), an itinerary which links the minor sanctuaries of the Central and Eastern Biella area with Lake Orta. This route is inspired by the one taken by Saint Charles Borromeo presumably several times during the years in which he was archbishop of Milan (1565-1584).

On top of a hill overlooking Lake Orta rises the Buccione Tower to a height of 23.20 m. It stands within a Special Nature Reserve set up in 1993 by Piedmont Region to protect the historical and environmental heritage of the site, which along with the Sacro Monte and Monte Mesma is one of the most intriguing historical attractions of Lake Orta.

Other interesting places are Pettenasco with its Medieval House; Omegna with its recreational and swimming facilities in Bagnella; Lido di Gozzano (beach); Vacciago with the Calderara Collection of contemporary art.