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Lago di Orta, in the region of Piedmont

Lago di Orta, in the region of Piedmont | Italia Mia |

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.
The town of Orta San Guilio 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.
Towering above Orta San Guilio 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.[...] You also have a spectacular view of the lake from the mountain.
Then there’s Isola San Guilio, 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 Motto the main square in Orta San Guilio, you can take a ferry over to the island. [...]

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