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Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 | 28 comments

The Most Beautiful Place in the World?

Lago di Orta, in the region of Piedmont, Italy, is nestled in the hills just east of Lake Maggiore. It’s only a thirty minute drive from Milan and Lake Maggiore, but without the hustle and bustle or glitz of Maggiore and another well known lake, Como. In fact not many people have heard of Lago di Orta, not even the Italians, though they comprise the majority of tourists there. I think they must want to keep it for themselves.

San Giulio di Orta, Lago di Orta, Italy. @PennySadler

View of the lake and the island in the background.

The town of Orta San Giulio on the east side of the lake is one of the most romantic places I’ve ever been.  The buildings are all brilliant terracotta colors with tile rooftops and painted shutters, tumbling down the hillside toward the lake. It’s a pedestrian-only town, with one narrow alley-like street and few little side alleys that beckon you to explore them.

Lago di orta, Italy @PennySadler 2013

Colors of Orta

the most beautiful place in the world Lago di Orta, Italy @PennySadler

Colors of Orta

Towering above Orta San Giulio is Sacro Monte (spiritual mountain), a place of pilgrimage dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi. There are twenty chapels illustrating the life of St. Francis along a clearly marked path with picnic and rest areas along the way. At Sacro Monte, nature and architecture are carefully combined to enhance the feeling of devotion and encourage meditation. You also have a spectacular view of the lake from the mountain.

Isola San Giulio, Lago di Orta @PennySadler 2013

Isola San Guilio, Lago di Orta

Then there’s Isola San Giulio, a tiny gem of an island. In the ninth century the Bishop of Navaro built a basilica there which dominates the landscape. There’s also Benedictine monastery built in the 1900s. It seems that even the island is a place for the religious and spiritual seeker, although you could simply enjoy the scenery and the architecture. From Piazza Motta the main square in Orta San Giulio, you can take a ferry over to the island.

the most beautiful place in the world Piazza Motta, Lago di Orta, Italy @PennySadler 2013

Piazzo Motto

If you’re only here for a day or less, as I was, have lunch at one of the restaurants on Piazza Motta – all have a lake view. Isola San Giulio is visible from Piazza Motta, and sitting there with a view of the lake and the island is like sitting in a big open air theater in one of the most beautiful settings in the world.

From the moment I arrived, Lago di Orta stole my heart.

Orta San Giuilo Lago di Orta, @PennySadler 2013

A charming alley

If you go, the best way to arrive is by car, though it’s possible to go by bus.
For more information on the area. http://www.orta.net/eng1/indexe.htm

Accommodations are mainly hotels on the lake, though there are some apartment rentals as well.

http://lakeorta.com

Have you been to Lago di Orta? Do these small out-of-the-way places call to you? Do you enjoy visiting places of spiritual or religious significance?

28 Comments

  1. Italy is one of the beautiful country in Europe. This country is my next target to visit and enjoy. also get knowledge about their culture…..

  2. I was in Rome but seem like I missed the great one! I need to catch up this one!

    • Well, it’s very different than Rome. I’m beginning to really enjoy these small out of the way places.

    • I think I could spend a week there – maybe more if you explore the region. It could be a great base camp.

  3. It looks perfect–all the beauty of the Italian Lakes without the crowds. I want to go to there! :)

  4. My husband and I are trying to figure out where to go this next summer… I think I have just found it!

    • Glad to hear. I’m sure you will love it! Let me know.

  5. Italy just keeps on getting more and more beautiful. It looks like you need months in this country to enjoy it fully. if not years.

  6. Beautiful pictures! I will add it to my travel list!

  7. I agree 100% with Penny Sadler : Orta San Giulio and Lago d’Orta are one of the most romantic place ever !

  8. It’s weird sometimes how some things get famous and other things don’t. But then again, it means hidden treasures are still all over the place.

  9. It is very pretty. I like how some of the buildings are different colors. There’s this place in Slovenia called Lake Bled that has an island in the middle of the lake. It’s so pretty, too. They built a church on it, too! =)

    • The island definitely adds to the atmosphere, but also the architecture there. The pictures are good, but really you have to see it.

  10. What a marvelous find! I shall visit it our next trip to Italy. Just beautiful.

    • Tin Man, please let me know if you do and if I can help. I want to go back myself.

  11. Wow Penny – Orta San Guilio is so picturesque and the photo of Isola San Guilio, Lago di Orta… looks like a movie set. Outta this world.

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