Piazza Mario Motta is the main square of the town. We were staying in an apartment on this piazza. It was lined on two sides with shops, cafés, and restaurants, while the third side housed an abandoned hotel. The fourth side was the lake. We began our morning wandering around the piazza, and the nearby streets.
Even though it is evident that the Hotel Orta has been abandoned for many years now, one can still see glimpses of what the property must have been like when it was first opened. Given the prime location of the hotel, taking up an entire side of the piazza, right on the lake, it is astonishing that no one has purchased the building, and redone it!
At the far end of the piazza, you will find one of the town’s main monuments. The Palazzotto, also known as the Palazzo della Comunità della Riviera, dates from 1682. It originally housed the General Council of the Republic of the Orta Riviera. From 1345 to 1753, the area was considered a republic, with its own set of laws. It functioned as a kind of autonomous state. The various neighboring villages that made up the republic all voted on the council members. What I found most intriguing about the building were the frescoes that decorated its facade. They are beautiful and, in most cases, in a decent state of preservation, given the fact that they are constantly being exposed to the elements, such as rain and snow.
Next up: We stroll up the Salita della Motta, past historic palaces, to the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta!
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 more posts from Orta San Giulio, as well as other Italian destinations. Grazie!