il lago d'orta, the most romantic of italian lakes il pił romantico dei laghi italiani


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A walk through the peninsula of Orta San Giulio


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The itinerary: Piazza Motta - Punta Movero - Via Panoramica - Sacro Monte - Via Gemelli - Via Albertoletti - Piazza Motta (meeting il "bus d'l orechera" and the granito's hole called "the dead's voice")

Time: 60-70 min. ca.

The itinerary starts from Piazza Motta. Walking along Via Olina, via Bossi, via Gippini and passing near the Hotel S. Rocco you meet a gravel street, via Motta. The street seems to end at the Villa Motta's gate, but a small footpath appears on the left, touching the lake. A path that skirts the lake and gently follows the curve of the peninsula of Orta. Reaching the tip of the peninsula, called Punta Movero (provided with stone benches and where you can enjoy a wonderful view over the lake and the island, in the silence broken only by gentle lapping of waves against the shore) the path turns to the right along the north shore of the peninsula.

After a few minutes following the line of the shore, the path seems to leave the lake, turning right. There, you can see, over the fence on the right, the "famous" Villa Curioni-Mazzetti (built in the late nineteenth century) that hides inside a cave called "bus d’l orechera". The ancient Orta's inhabitants believed that one of the island's monsters (a dragon or a giant snake) at the time of St. Julius takes refuge inside this cave (and in fact there was found the vertebra of a prehistoric animal now kept in the basilica's sacristy on the island).

Now turns on the right, following the footpath and leaving for a moment the lake. Here you see a sign inviting you to climb on the right, indicating the parkings.

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Instead you continue along the lakeshore. The path continues, flanked by the lake on one side and by sporadic woods and farms on the right, until you arrive at the end of the peninsula, where you will have turn right, climb up to asphalt road where is collocated the Tourist Office.
On the other side of the road, it began the climb that leads you to the Sacro Monte. A road that will take to the top of the promontory.

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Here you walk through a natural reserve, quiet and mystical, visiting the ancient chapels that describe the life of San Francesco d'Assisi. You descends on the opposite side of the Sacro Monte, through the arch decorated with a statue of Assisi's Saint by Dionigi Bussola.

Now you reach the Cemetery's square, with a wonderful lake's view. You can visit the Cemetery, that preserves the oldest part with his graves, and admire the beautiful wrought iron gate, made in Orta and installed in 1721 (externally also the antique ossuary is adorned with two fine wrought iron, a smaller one, which ended in 1706, looking towards the Sacro Monte, and the other much larger towards the lake posed in 1702).

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In the cemetery you can see the church of San Quirico, the oldest parish church in the east coast (it maintained the characteristics of the parish also during the Langobard's siege to the island).
Along the outer wall of the cemetery, near the current traffic light, you will notice a granite's circular hole.

The old popular belief says that if you insert the head inside, you hear the murmur of the dead.

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From the square following the signs you descend towards the town, between stone walls, beautiful glimpses of the lake and antique palaces, reaching your starting point, Piazza Motta.