Lake Orta is the most western lake in the foothills of the Alps and is situated just west of Lake Maggiore.
The Cusio, as is called the area of Lake Orta, is a fascinating place where nature, art and culture are intertwined magically in the rare atmosphere of this lake.
Human presence on Lake Orta is ancient and goes back to the Neolithic times. In 1786, the ground of Cusio became property of Savoia, moving from Lombardy to Piedmont. An ideal destination for artists and writers, the lakeside places of the Lake are often described in poems and novels of famous authors such as Balzac, Rodari, Montale e Soldati. Its fame has been increased also by famous chefs and industrialists known at a worldwide level. Among the most known sites of Lake Orta, is Omegna, the most important town in Cusio, close to Verbania e botanical gardens of Villa Taranto, which has been recognised in the past as an industrial town, leader in the houseware sector; today it is also a cultural reference point of the whole territory. The gem of Lake Orta is “Orta San Giulio”, a small village that has enchanted writers and scholars for centuries. It’s a jewel of medieval architecture with its narrow and suggestive alleys. In “Piazza Motta”, with its outdoor tables and the sixteenth-century “Palazzotto”, the first city hall, there is a small port, point of departure to get the Island of San Giulio. This is a piece of land where, according to legend, San Giulio defeated dragons and snakes. A mystic sign of the whole lake, in the centre there is the ancient Seminary, founded in 1844 and today is Abbey that accommodates a community of Benedictine nuns. The island is dominated by the “Basilica of San Giulio”, commissioned by the Saint in the IV Century where you can admire the wall paintings that reproduce images of Saints and paintings realized by the apprentices of the painter Gaudenzio Ferrari.