Honoured by many poets and writer, Orta always exudes an air of antiquated and romantic charm.
The island of San Giulio, Sacro Monte and a part of the old town of Orta may be admired in all their splendour from the swimming pool and the balconies at La Darbia. The glimmer on the water brightens up the whole riviera, even in winter, and infuses this corner of the world with its magic.
When you make your way downhill towards the lake through the winding lanes, the moment you reach piazza Motta and perceive the outline of the island ahead you are inspired with awe, an emotion we all experience, even those of us who have always lived here.
The square, surrounded by picturesque houses, comes to life on Wednesdays with the weekly market stalls and the sound of cheerful, haggling voices. Under the chestnut trees, smiling boatsmen patiently await any tourists heading for the island, meanwhile other people sip aperitifs or enjoy a good dish at the tables in the porticoes.
The stately old palazzo ("Palazzotto") has stood observing community life since the end of the 1500s and is, in its own right, a precious work of art with its painted facade and bell tower.
Following the main street, you arrive at villa Bossi, whose garden constitutes one of the most scenic viewpoints of all. While roaming the streets of the little town your eye will constantly catch glimpses of evocative spots, suitable for a romantic pause.
Today we are invited by Lina, a dear friend, who has made crêpes and a delectable cup of hot tea: you have the most wonderful view from her terrace, which has often been chosen as the setting for television programmes. She has a carefully tended orchard where there are lemon and orange trees as well as one small bergamot tree; Lina prepares the most delicious marmalade and candied orange to sweeten the harshness of winter. An exquisite afternoon on the shores of Lake Orta while awaiting the arrival of spring…