Orta Lake with the island of San Giuglio in the distance, by Jesse Andrews

Cafe on the Water
By Jesse Andrews

Villas along Lake Orta

   Most Photos on VisitsItaly are by Jesse Andrews. Please Contact VisitsItaly.Com for reproduction of any kind at:

Welcome to Orta San Giulio
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population: 1,170 (2008)
Official site:
Orta San Giulio
Orta San Giulio
Orta San Giulio

Visit our Lake District Portal

Lake Orta is the smallest of the Northern Italian lakes, about 25 kilometres to the west of Lago Maggiore and home to towns such as Brolo, Oira, Ronco and varios other quiet lake-shore villages. 

Orta is a small star on the constellation of pre-alpine lakes, and yet this lake and its famous town San Giulio is considered by many Italians and visitors to the area to be one of, if not the, most beautiful of all the Northern Lakes. 

The town of San Giuglio whose cobblestone streets and red roofs lay on the south western shores of the lake, has has long been a favourite among visitors to the area who come to enjoy the quiet beauty of the landscape, whose vibrant colours have been the inspiration for some of the 21st centuries most important writers and philosophers, such as Elizabeth Barrot Browning (poet) and Friedrick Nietze (philosopher). 

The fascinating history and architecture of the town (mostly Baroque), the grand piazzas and of course the mesmerizing island of San Giuglio in the centre of the lake, has long drawn people to the shores of Orta, whose beauty has not only drawn tourists - but also invaders from throughout Europe who have come in succession to try and steal the town's island treasures.

Frequently Orta is bypassed by visitors to the area for Stresa, Como or Bellagio, as they have gained notoriety with celebrities in recent years.  Fortunately, the quiet beauty of Orta has remained and is distinctly and classically Italian with numerous bars, restaurants and well-kept villas which adorn this lovely spot on the smallest, though prettiest of the Northern Italian Lakes.

Finding a place to stay in Orta is not difficult and there is one of the most photographed hotels in Italy - the Turkish inspired Villa Crespi, which greets visitors at the entrance to the town.

Write us today, to find out our top picks for Orta.  We'll be happy to fill you in on the latest news for Orta.


4548′N 824′E


Cernobbio - 98 km
Como - 95 km
Milan - 85 km;
Stresa - 26 km;
Verbania - 27 km;
Torino - 124 km


Hotel La Bussola



Orta Coat of Arms

Tourist Office
Piazza Mazzini
Tel: 031-951-555
Apr-Oct: daily 9AM-noon; 3pm-6pm and Nov-Mar: Mon, Wed, Sat. 9am - noon