- LAKE ORTA GUIDED TOURS

Discover Lake Orta on a guided tour accompanied by a local professional Tour Guide

Isola San Giulio Île de Saint Jules Isle of San Giulio

Calm, crystal waters. Gentle hills that surround this glistening mirror. And a magical atmosphere: this is Lake Orta.

This enchanting little lake, just a brief drive from lake Maggiore, is a jewel set amongst the mountains. Its shores are embellished by lovely little villages, grand villas and elegant gardens.

This quaint, serene and mysterious corner of Italy, often unheard-of, inspired many writers who described or mentioned lake Orta's allure: Mario Soldati, Eugenio Montale, Mario Bonfantini, Piero Chiara, Honoré de Balzac, Henry Bordeaux, Robert Browning, Lawrence Durrell... Not far from this lake is the plain with its rice fields and the hills of Novara, renowned for the production of some Italian fine wines such as Ghemme, Gattinara, Sizzano. The main town on lake Orta is Omegna, an important industrial area in the past, specialized in small appliances for kitchen. Bialetti and Alessi companies were founded here in 1920s.

The well-known children's author Gianni Rodari was born in Omegna in 1920. From Omegna one can drive up into the mountains to reach Strona valley, where woodturning is still an important activity whose origins date back to the Middle Ages. Here local woodworkers, skilful craftsmen, produce many wooden objects, especially kitchen utensils, but they have specialized mainly in the production of handmade Pinocchio puppets. That's why the valley is known as either "The Pinocchios' valley" or "The spoons' valley".

From Omegna one can drive to the pretty village of Quarna, famous for the production of musical instruments, particularly saxophones. Another important trade is concentrated near lake Orta and it concerns with the production of faucets.

But the treasure contained in this jewel-case of water is the village of Orta San Giulio, where time seems to have stopped.

Suggested guided tours

Other interesting places to visit

    • The Crafts Museum in Forno (Strona valley)

    • The Tap Museum in San Maurizio d' Opaglio (lake Orta).

    • Collection of Contemporary Art of Calderara Foundation in Vacciago (lake Orta).

    • Museum of Wind Instruments in Quarna

    • The Romanesque church of Santa Maria Assunta (XI XII century) in Armeno home to a notable painting by Fermo Stella da Caravaggio (1548)

    • the Convent on Mount Mesma in Ameno

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Famous quotes about Lake Orta and its beauties

Piero Chiara wrote: "Orta, God's own watercolour that seems painted on silk".

"The isle of San Giulio: hesitant between water and sky".

Gianni Rodari wrote:"Lake Orta is different from the other lakes in Piedmont and Lombardy. It is an original lake that, instead of sending its waters southwards, sends them northwards, as if it wanted to offer them to Mount Rosa, rather than to the Adriatic sea".

" In the middle of the mountains lies lake Orta. In the middle of lake Orta, though not exactly in the middle, is the island of San Giulio. On the island of San Giulio stands the villa of Baron Lamberto, an exceedingly elderly gentleman (he is ninety-three years old) who is very wealthy (he owns twenty-four banks in Italy, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore, and so on) and invariably ill. He has twenty-four maladies"...

- from "Lamberto Lamberto Lamberto", Gianni Rodari, children's author

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