Less than an hour from Novara you can reach one of the most beautiful spots in all of Piedmont: Lake Orta. Peaceful, quiet, and immersed in nature, Lake Orta is also romantic and perfect for couples. For locals, it’s a perfect destination for a lazy Sunday afternoon and if you’re traveling in the area, it’s a must-see!
Orta is called the “Pre-Alpine mirror”, due to its origin and the purity of its waters. Located between the provinces of Novara and Verbano-Cuso-Ossola, this basin was the protagonist of an ecological disaster at the beginning of the twenty-first century, which, thankfully, has since been resolved.
The lake has several characteristic places to see such as seaside resorts and small villages.
Certainly, one of the most important is the Islet of San Giulio and the lesser-known village of Pella.
This ancient village of just over 1,000 people is only 20 minutes from Orta Miasino. The area has been inhabited since ancient times as evidenced by third century AD coins that have been found.
You’ll want to stroll along the lovely lakefront with colorful boats and a view of the Islet of San Giulio. The main square of the village is Piazza Motta and it’s a typical medieval piazza serving as the meeting place for locals. Several restaurants and cafes are located here as well as benches where you can sit and enjoy a lakefront view with delicious ice cream from the Antica Torre Gelateria. Antica Torre serves completely homemade, traditional Piedmont gelato.
Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso in Pella
From the village of Pella you can see the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso, located on a granite spur. The complex consists of a church, bell tower and the parish house. It can be reached in 10 minutes from the village, via a panoramic road that allows you to see the whole lake from above. You can park 100 m from the sanctuary and go the rest of the way on foot enjoying amazing views.
This Gothic church is surrounded by a beautiful green lawn, where you can rest and enjoy the silence that makes the view from above even more sensational.
The entrance to the church is completely free and its interior is well preserved with paintings and sculptures. The sanctuary is surrounded by small chapels which makes the walk from the parking lot to the sanctuary even more spectacular.
And if Lake Orta is just a stop on your visit to northern Italy,
then don’t miss the chance to find out more about this region and its events.
Photo Credits: Federica Gualerzi; www.gelateriaanticatorre.com; www.lagomaggiore.net