Tips for a special weekend. The ideal holiday at the house on Orta Lake.
FRIDAY EVENING TO BE SPENT IN THE HOUSE AT ORTA LAKE.
Arriving in the late afternoon with the panoramic road to the parking lot north of the town of Orta San giulio, one of the panoramas unfolds over the heart of Orta Lake with the roofs of the historic center of Orta, the waters and the island of San Giulio that you almost seem to touch with your hand. You can park in the comfortable and large garage a few steps from the holiday home on Orta Lake, before an aperitif or dinner in one of the characteristic bars in the center which is always closed to traffic.
A platter of local cured meats, including the typical Ortese liver mortadella and tasty smoked ham from nearby Val Vigezzo, and a taste of cheeses with the ever-present toma del Mottarone, one of the best Piedmontese mountain pasture cheeses, and Bettelmatt from Formazza and Antigorio valleys allow you to immerse yourself in the best of the flavors of this corner of northern Piedmont. To find out about the restaurants in Orta San Giulio click here
SATURDAY BETWEEN ORTA SAN GIULIO, THE SACRO MONTE AND THE ISLAND OF SAN GIULIO
Leaving the holiday home on Orta Lake, the walk can only start from the heart of the village of Orta, in the picturesque Piazza Motta, the day on the eastern shore of the cleanest lake in Europe. The square is a gracious living room overlooking the water, where there is also the small port from where boats leave for the island of San Giulio.
The square overlooked by bars and shops is beautiful and colorful, as are the many narrow and winding alleys that climb up to the vault of the Sacro Monte. From the square starts the climb called "Motta", paved with stones and flanked by interesting historic buildings. Not to be missed, at the top of the street, is the church of Santa Maria Assunta. Second part of the morning at the Sacro Monte di Orta Nature Reserve which dominates the village from above. Located in the hilly area overlooking the village and which is divided between the wooded area and the sacred area.
The itinerary of twenty chapels dedicated to episodes from the life of San Francesco d'Assisi, with frescoes and sculptures. Afternoon on the island of San Giulio. Departure from the small port of Orta and trip on the clear waters of the lake resting your gaze on the wilder western shore, while the boat slowly approaches the island. The island is dominated by the basilica of San Giulio and the nearby Palazzo del Vescovo. Today it is inhabited by Benedictine cloistered nuns. It can be reached by landing by boat on a grassy area in its southern area. A single street follows the perimeter of the island, a succession of residences and palaces, luxuriant gardens, courtyards, shops and restaurants.
The Romanesque jewel of the island is the basilica of San Giulio, with a façade and staircase that overlooks the water. Return to Orta after a new trip on the waters of the lake, looking towards the sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso, the small port of Pella and the distant Tower of Buccione, located on the top of a hill in the southern area of ??Cusio.
SUNDAY IN OMEGNA, PELLA AND MADONNA DEL SASSO.
Leaving the holiday home on Orta Lake, Omegna is the first destination on Sunday. Main center of Cusio, it rises at the northern end, on the slopes of Mottarone. Center with a marked industrial propensity, it is the birthplace of Alfonso Bialetti, a well-known entrepreneur and founder of the homonymous industry, and of Gianni Rodari, journalist, writer and poet.
Worth seeing in the city are the late Romanesque church of Sant'Ambrogio, with its high bell tower, the ancient bridge with two arches from the 15th century, the Roman gate, dating back to 1100, the only one left of the five entrances to the city in the Middle Ages.
Second part of the morning in Nonio, reachable along the provincial road that slowly climbs along the waters and offering exciting panoramas. Land of green-grey quarries, it is the "town of two sunsets", in fact, on certain days of the year, the sun, after disappearing behind Mount Castello, reappears for a few minutes, and then sets definitively. Afternoon that opens in Cesara, a mountain village located on the heights of the western shore of Orta Lake.
Second half of the afternoon at the extraordinary sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso, located on the top of a granite rock overhanging Orta Lake. Called Cusio's balcony, it offers a spectacular view of the entire basin from the square in front of the church. Those who arrive there for the first time are enchanted by the view and the location of the Baroque church with its beautiful frescoed dome.
Second part of the afternoon by the lake, in the picturesque village of Pella, in the shade of the vertiginous granite wall that supports the sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso, to breathe a little more of the magical atmosphere of the lake and enjoy the view of the island of San Giulio, this time with in the background, on the other bank, the village of Orta dominated by its Sacro Monte.
End of the weekend at the table to enjoy a good stuffed perch roll to continue with a filet of whitefish alla meunière, both to be accompanied by a good Piedmontese white wine. Evening on the lakefront to enjoy the crisp evening air and the warm lights of the island.