Lake Orta with its wonderful Orta San Giulio is a little little-known and little-visited jewel (relatively little-visited) hides a short distance from Milan, Turin, Novara and the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola: it is the Lake d’Orta, a pre-Alpine lake of glacial origin easily accessible from the main Piedmontese and Lombard capitals, which is well suited for a trip or a weekend away with children.
ORTA SAN GIULIO AND THE SMALL ISLAND SAN GIULIO
Orta San Giulio is a small village that recalls those once upon a time. Let’s say that if you intend to visit it, to make yourself understand how picturesque it is, you have to move on foot (the historic center is closed to cars) within half a day. Although there are cobbled alleys and climbs and descents, the central square is perfectly accessible even with a stroller and pram. After a tour of the city, buy a naval ticket and go to visit the island, maybe stop there in a restaurant and taste the delicacies of the area. Nin be afraid that you also think of the children, who will be happy to eat and play there.
THE BASILICA BETWEEN STORIES AND LEGENDS
If you are in the area go to visit the Convent of Clausura and the Basilica of San Giulio. A legend has it that San Giulio founded it as the hundredth church after having landed on the island aboard his cloak and having defeated the 100 dragons that lived in these places. Before leaving Orta San Giulio, the Sacro Monte with its twenty chapels dedicated to the life of San Francesco is also worth a visit. To get there, you can take a road that climbs the hill 15 minutes by road from the historic center, or take the tourist train that leads to the mountain.
A DIVE IN THE BLUE WATER
If you want to swim, know that the lake is suitable for swimming and there are several beaches where you can stop: the water is generally clean and the beaches are well maintained. There are pebbles, sand and grass. In the latter, in particular, many families choose to stop for an outdoor picnic between sky, water and nature. We recommend that you opt for the beaches of San Maurizio d’Opaglio, the Gozzano lido, Omegna, Pettenasco and Miami beach, one of the best known in the area (and therefore quite crowded in the summer months), equipped with sunbeds, umbrellas, changing rooms and a small bar.