In our new adventure, our first stop was the charming lakeside town of Orta San Giulio. We flew into Milan’s Malpensa Airport, and were heading down to Sicily. After an eight-hour flight, we shuddered at the thought of having to take another flight the same day, even if it was a short one, so we booked ourselves a few nights in Orta San Giulio. We hired a car and driver to meet us at the airport, and take us to Orta. He would return at the end of our stay there, to take us back to the airport for our flight to Palermo. The apartment we had rented was in the main piazza of the town, overlooking the lake. It was a perfect location! The only drawback, and this is for the entire town, is that the historical center of Orta, meaning the whole place basically, is off limit to vehicles of any kind, unless you are a resident. Taxis cannot enter. There are cameras set up at the entrances to the town, and if you are captured driving past, you will be issued a ticket! So, our driver explained this to us, and we understood, thanked him, and then, set off with our suitcases to find the building we were going to stay in. Since we are away from home for over a month’s time, we do not travel light. That said, we did finally find the address, and made it up to the apartment.
The view from the living room window was beautiful, and will forever be what I think of when I think of Orta San Giulio.
The town was built on a promontory that juts out into the eastern part of the Lago di Orta, directly across from the island in the middle of the lake, the Isola San Giulio, which was what we saw from our living room windows. Directly to the east of the town, you will find the Sacro Monte di Orta, or the Sacred Mountain of Orta, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. The history of the town goes all the way back to Roman times. Throughout the centuries, people were drawn to the location, because it is a peaceful, lakeside setting surrounded by mountains everywhere you look. Later, the town would go on to host writers such as Byron, Robert Browning, and Honoré de Balzac, to name a few. Now, it would be our home, for a few nights at least, and we could not wait to get out and explore it.
Walking through the streets, one immediately gets transported back to the days when such things as automobiles did not exist. Life is simple here. It is also richly rewarding for anyone who can let themselves go, and give in to the atmosphere, history, and beauty of the place.
I made a mental note of the Pizzeria La Campana, as we passed it, and later that evening, it certainly paid off. Since we were suffering from jetlag, as a result of not sleeping on the plane, we decided to pick up two pizzas, and eat them back at the apartment. The pizzas were both delicious, and the total bill was under €10.00.
Next up: We continue to explore Orta San Giulio!
Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations that may appear. If you have enjoyed this post, please, check out our archives for posts from other Italian destinations. We wish you and yours a very Merry and Healthy Holiday Season! Grazie!