On the shores of Lake Orta stands a small town of unmissable charm: Orta San Giulio (orange flag village of the Italian Touring Club), fronted by the beautiful Island of San Giulio.
The characteristic appearance of Orta is given by the Renaissance and Baroque art that distinguishes its stately palaces and its magnificent gardens. Admire the splendid residences of Villa Perone and Villa Crespi, as well as the Palazzo della Comunità, once the seat of the Council of the Riviera.
The small island of San Giulio, accessible by boat or motorboat, is dominated by the Romanesque basilica, the bishop’s palace and the Benedictine abbey.
Legend has it that this island, no more than 400 meters from the shore of Orta, was once a rock inhabited by snakes and terrible monsters, until San Giulio landed there in 390: crossing the waters of the lake above his cloak and guided in the storm by his staff, the Saint founded a church, in which he then chose to be buried, and transformed the island into the evangelization center of the whole region.