Five favourite places around Lake Orta. Five essential destinations. Five places capable of making a holiday unforgettable.
I don't like making lists or giving rankings, but I understand that sometimes a selection of unmissable places really has to be done. To pay homage to the most beautiful places, those that deserve our time because they are capable of transforming it into authentic joy and renewed energy.
Orta San Giulio is naturally in first place, with its romantic medieval village, the alleyways that emerge onto the lake, the Piazza Motta with its crowded cafes. And then the elegant Palazzotto and the piers that stretch out towards the horizon. Let me tell you, one of the most beautiful places in the world, with the enchanted island emerging from the water, revealing the suggestive profile of the Benedictine monastery. Medieval legends surround this magical place, a mystical symbol of the whole lake. And if a boat ride or a romantic aperitif in the square cannot be missed, even a visit to the Sacro Monte will enrich our day with beauty. Built in the 16th century and dedicated to Saint Francis, it dominates the old village of Orta and offers a breathtaking view. I suggest a walk at sunset, when the evening lights make the lake sparkle, while the tolling of the bells fills the sky.
We remain on Lake Orta and relish the experience of gazing out from a natural terrace and looking down, embracing the delightful profile of Cusio with our eyes. A real balcony overlooking the lake, the imposing Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso was built on a granite spur and dominates the western shore of the lake. Sometimes it appears dazzling, a bright spot kissed by the morning sun; at other times it emerges wrapped in lake mists… Always a fairytale scenario!
Stresa is the real pearl of Lake Maggiore, with its elegant Art Nouveau hotels and the three Borromeo Islands that seem to float effortlessly on the water. It is no coincidence that great artists of a not too distant past (from Hemingway to Flaubert, from Lord Byron to Stendhal) have linked their names to these places so full of charm. A visit to the sumptuous palaces and elegant gardens of Isola Bella, a lunch in the small restaurants of Isola Pescatori or a walk in the park of Isola Madre are a panacea for the soul, a spiritual nourishment of pure beauty.
And within our "top five" mount Mottarone cannot really be missing, synonymous with relaxing walks along paths bordered by broom, alpine huts where you can savour polenta, winter skiing along snow-covered slopes. But also walks in the woods in search of fine porcini mushrooms, snacks based on salami and slices of cake, happy pedaling, perhaps on an e-bike.
From the summit, the view extends as far as Monviso, the Monte Rosa massif, the Swiss Alps, up to the Po Valley.
The most entertaining attraction? The Alpyland park with its bobsleigh track. Don't be afraid, buy a ticket and release all the adrenaline in your body!
So, in conclusion, if our selection has satisfied you, it's time to plan a holiday in our area. And enjoy the «top five» of the heart live.