Lake D’Orta, lake of art: a rich artistic, historical and cultural heritage, a cradle of medieval and renaissance architecture. Do not miss the village of Orta San Giulio, one of the most beautiful in Italy, with its island, the Sacro Monte, a treasure chest of Renaissance treasures, UNESCO heritage, and much more …
Island of San Giulio – Lake Orta Legend, atmosphere, history and spirituality among women alone! The village and its story, though, is hardly complete without telling of the only Island in Lake Orta, San Giulio, just 275 meters long and 140 meters wide, and no more than 400 meters from the main square of Orta. The island shows traces of settlements as far back as the Neolithic era but it was abandoned during Roman times. It was also thought to be a pre-Christian cult center, a very good reason for which the two Greek brothers, Giulio and Giuliano, arrived on Lake Orta at the end of the 4th century. They were Evangelists who sought to build churches in order to spread the Christian faith but separated for a while as Giuliano built their 99th Church in nearby Gozzano and Gulio went on to Orta to seek a site for their 100th Church. According to legend, the Island was at that time infested with serpents and dragons, obvious symbols for Evil or pagan practices that foundation of the Church would wipe out. The local fishermen were naturally afraid of the monsters and refused to take Giulio to the Island. He was determined […]
isola san giulio lago d'orta
Orta San Giulio Community Palace (ancient Municipality) The Palazzo della Comunità or the Broletto is in the center of the ancient village of Orta San Giulio and dates back to 1582. It is one of the symbols of the feudal state of the San Giulio Riviera that dates back to the 12th century, allowing us to rebuild the games of powers of the Cusian village. Here the legislative and executive powers were exercised. Sometimes called the Palazzotto, it overlooks the lake and the island of San Giulio.
piazza motta orta san giulio
The Sacred Mountain and the story of San Francesco di Assisi In 2003 UNESCO certified the nine Sacred Mounts in Piedmont and Lombardy, each on the one hand a devotional destination and on the other a superb Renaissance work of art of great value and interest, an open air artistic phenomenon with an evocative name and spiritual theme, the Great Mountain Theatre. In the distant 16th century the Sacred Mounts undoubtedly had a didactic role with the specific aim of spreading the Christian Word and the story of Jesus Christ and the Saints. The Sacred Mount of Orta uses its 20 chapels and their elegantly austere Renaissance architecture set in a magnificent pine wood park with gorgeous views over the stone roofed village to tell the story of St Francis of Assisi. Frescoes set the scene and the atmosphere while the life sized colored statues seem to act out his life on a great natural stage.
Sacro Monte - Orta
San Rocco Church of Miasino The name of San Rocco, protector from the plague, was chosen for the ancient Romanic Church, which did not survive longer than the early 1600s and was rebuilt from 1627 to plans by Milanese architect, Francesco Maria Riccini. Reconstruction coincided with the terrible plague that Alessandro Manzoni wrote about in his masterpiece “The Betrothed” and which also struck the area around Lake Orta.
Chiesa San Rocco - Miasino
A timeless pearl The medieval walled village of Orta with its gem of an island, the pearl of the Cusio area, is without doubt the most precious jewel of Lake Orta, a priceless treasure trove collecting culture, art, handcrafts, gastronomic tradition and spirituality multi-facetted human story through the ages. Today the village is even more charming as it is entirely traffic free, with its cobbled streets and the steep Motta hill leading up to the ochre colored parish church dedicated to the Santa Maria Assunta, built in 1485 and rebuilt half-way through the 18th century. Piazza Motta, is an open-air salon on the lake with boats taking people over to the Island.
Orta San Giulio
In the Comune of Ameno, Mount Mesma is home to a quiet 17th century Franciscan monastery, set on a hill at 576 meters altitude. The view from the churchyard is stunning, drawing the eye not only towards the nearby village of Orta San Giulio and the most romantic if the Italian Lakes, but also towards the second highest mountain in Europe, the majestic Mount Rosa. In summer the Mount Mesma Fraternity offers a few spiritual activities for all who seek time to dedicate to prayer, silence and meditation, but they also have a warm welcome for anyone wishing to spend a few exploratory hours surrounded by the natural beauty of this place which can easily be reached either by car or on foot. The monastery and church were built in 1619 using stone left after demolition of a castle on the top of the hill. The single aisle is dominated by the large Crucifixion carved in 1712 by the Milanese sculptor Lentignani. There are two cloisters, the first of which is near the entrance and was used as shelter for pilgrims and passers-by. The second has a well at its center which supplied water to the community of monks. From […]
Convento del Monte Mesma – Lago d’Orta
The small village of Pisogno has as its flagship, in addition to Piazza San Carlo – recently embellished by the new flooring and with the statue of the saint in the center – the parish church dedicated to San Gottardo. Built in Baroque style in the 16th century, it was at the time a simple chapel that was completely transformed in the following century on a project by the architect Andrea Biffi. The fresco on the choir wall, representing a “gallery of saints”, due to Fermo Stella da Caravaggio, is of considerable value. Fascinating the church of the Crucifix to the “Castle” that can be reached through a staircase flanked by a Via Crucis of the ‘700. The small church dominates Pisogno and with the jubilee year reorganized an ancient tradition: every 25 years, the day before the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (in September), the parishioners carry the statue of the Crucifix in procession to the parish church of San Gottardo, to bring her back to the castle solemnly the following day. Previously the traditional translation happened every 50 years. Every 5 years, however, same procedure for the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows, whose feast falls […]
Miasino, Frazione Pisogno Lago d'Orta
The Santa Maria Assunta church in Ameno is medieval in origin with a late Romanic bell tower.
Chiesa S.M. Assunta - Armeno
The present day Basilica goes back to the 12th Century and was designed on the model used for the cathedral in Novara. Quite apart from its very fine frescoes, do not miss the extremely rare and precious pulpit carved in green marble, supported by 4 much older columns. The undeniable charm and fascination of the island are not its sole attributes, it is just a little mysterious too, thanks to the presence of the Mater Ecclesiae Benedictine convent where there are now about 80 nuns living when in 1973 there were only 6. They live in total silence.
Monastero di San Giulio – Lago d’Orta
La Bocciola Sanctuary – Ameno The origin of this Sanctuary goes back to an episode in 1543 when the “Holy Virgin appeared to a young girl who tended her animals there”. Later in the 1700’s a few healings and miraculous circumstanced are recorded. The young girl, dumb from birth, lived in a house that is still visible along the road leading to the Sanctuary.
Santuario la Bocciola – Ameno
The medieval defense tower of the lake The Tower in ancient times was surrounded by a wall with arrow-slits. At the very top there was a bell which rang when danger was on the horizon. In Medieval times these places depended on such towers for their safety. Today the Tower is inside the Piedmont Region’s Special Nature Reserve so as to safeguard the historical and environmental heritage. The Tower can be reached by car by following the S.R. 229 or a 15 minute walk through country paths, enjoying views of the lake framed by the Alps and dominated by Mount Rosa.
Torre Buccione - Corconio
The House of Dwarves – Orta San Giulio Casa Marangoni is the oldest house in Orta and is known as The House of Dwarves due to the four tiny windows just above the main wooden beam. It goes back to the end of the 1500’s when, according to legend St Giulio arrived in the area to free the island of serpents and dragons. The house with its little granite columns is on the right of the steep Salita della Motta going up from the main square and is decorated with three frescoes of the Annunciation, the Ascension and a Madonna with Child.
Casa dei Nani – Orta San Giulio
Roman bridge of Pezzasco Ameno is on a plateau that slopes south east, on the eastern bank of Lake Orta, along the medieval Francisca road which connected Gozzano with Orta San Giulio. In the little hamlet of Pezzasco with its chestnut, pine and beech woods, is a perfect place for a walk, a mountain bike ride or an excursion on horseback, in the heart of the countryside where you will come upon a fascinating little Roman bridge.
Santa Maria of Luzzara – Gozzano The delightful little church of Santa Maria of Luzzara, 11th century, is known for its recently restored frescoes and a curious “sailing” bell tower. Near the Lido of Gozzano, at the time the place where the bishops embarked for the pastoral visits to the Island of San Giulio, today beautiful beach and the ideal place to contemplate the beautiful Lake Orta, “the Watercolor of God”.
The painted walls of Pogno The little village of Pogno, about 20 minutes from Orta San Giulio has become a destination for lovers of popular art. The village has been painted to decorate, to remember and even to protest, creating a vast art gallery in the open air, fresh, imaginative, representative of its people who wish to tell their story in pictures. The first murals were chosen by the Town Hall together with “Muri D’Autore Servizi”, carried out from 20-26 June 2005 when the village filled up with accomplished painters and artists, the result being a series of seven wall paintings and a piece in ceramic, all shown on the walls of a number of buildings in the historical center of the village.
Pogno - Lago d'Orta
Madonna del Sasso Sanctuary – Lake Orta Madonna del Sasso, aka Cusio’s Balcony was finished in 1748, consecrated in 1771 and is without doubt the most panoramic of all the religious sites on Lake Orta. In the 1500’s it was a simple cross then came a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows before becoming the Sanctuary admired today. The white granite-like rock the Sanctuary is set on had always been been used as fine building material. Originally there was a chapel here dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows and after a number of healings the place became better known and a Church was then built to replace the chapel. The Church had a niche in which a small statue of Our Lady of the Rosary was kept a sit was thought to bring miracles. The current complex was a project of Pietro Paolo Minola from Boleto who after having received the grace of Our Lady decided to have a new Sanctuary built at his expense,to replace the old one. Work began around 1725, thanks also to contributions from the inhabitants of Boleto. In 1748 the Church was completed while the bell tower and the house on the side of the […]
madonna del sasso boleto
Villa Nigra – Miasino Villa Nigra is the Town Hall of Miasino, a gorgeous old village 479 meters above sea level on the eastern side of Lake Orta, among the most charming places sought out for quiet vacations in Northern Italy. In Miasino are numerous elegant 18th century buildings in Baroque style, villas and churches which make up an enormously valuable heritage, among these Villa Nigra, a living testimony to the ancient splendor of this little town which has had many an illustrious personage among its citizens and visitors. The oldest part of Villa Nigra goes back to the end of the 1500’s and faces the main square. It was enlarged between 1681 and 1725: a new wing was added and a double loggia on the first and second floor looking towards the internal court yard. The villa was acquired by the wealthy Nigra family from Sartirana Lomellina halfway through the 1800’s and it was the Architect Carlo Nigra who looked after its restoration. He had already several important projects to his name, among which were the Valentino Castle in Turin, the Church of Miasino and the San Giulio bell tower, and he was also the author of several publications on […]
Villa Nigra - Miasino
San Filiberto di Pella The Church of San Filiberto lies at the entrance to Pella in the hamlet of Proprio and it is a lovely Romanic east-facing church looking toward the moorings from which processions to the island of San Giulio still to this day depart. Despite various alterations over the course of the centuries, it has kept its Romanic majesty. With fourteen chapels forming the Way of the Cross each inter-linked by a low wall, it is also the only church in Italy dedicated to St Filibert, born in 616, whose origins were in France at Jumièges, and whose remains were kept in an Abbey in Burgundy.
San Filiberto – Pella
- alpe quaggione
- alzo di Pella
- bolzano novarese
- briga novarese
- forno valstrona
- gravellona toce
- isola san giulio
- madonna del sasso
- massino visconti
- oira di nonio
- orta san giulio
- quarna sotto
- san Maurizio d'opaglio
The tourist union of Lake Orta gathers 70 receptive and commercial activities. We operate in tourism promotion, in the production of informative material and we support cultural projects aimed at enhancing the territory.
Together to enhance the beauty of the places and promote its history.