A Day Trip to Lake Orta


Italy is filled with beautiful landscapes and the region of Piedmont does not disappoint one bit. With my birthday quickly approaching and being that I am in the last trimester of pregnancy, I felt the urge to take a day trip. My friend Jenn had recently told me about an excursion she took to Lake Orta or Lago d’Orta so when Denis asked me what I wanted to do for my 42nd birthday, I had no doubts that a lake trip was in order.

Lago d’Orta is in the northern part of Piedmont, tucked inside the charming village of Orta San Giulio. This gem of a place is less than a two-hour drive from Turin and is the perfect romantic get-a-way where one can wander cobblestone streets, find treasures in Romanesque and Baroque architecture and bask in tranquility.

There were many cafes and restaurants to choose from in the town center. However, we knew that we would find some difficulty in finding a restaurant where the kitchen would still open at 2:40 pm, for most kitchens close at 2:30 pm. Denis explained to me that in Italy, generally speaking, when a pregnant woman presents herself at a restaurant the owners generally go out of their way to appease her. Well, two kitchens had already closed for the lunch shift but luckily we did find a hospitable outdoor cafe to have a simple yet memorable lunch.

The town square boasts a spectacular view of the lake and one needs to be patient in order to find a bench to sit on while tourists come to take a tour of  Isola San Giulio. In the town square I found a wonderful textile shop called Penelope that sells hand-made linens produced by Bertozzi. Bertozzi uses wood from pear trees to make the stamps which are hand pressed on luxurious fabrics. Bertozzi is known for implementing environmentally friendly techniques all the while ensuring quality and craftsmanship.

Nestled in Orta San Giulio, there is Villa Crespi. Cristoforo Benigno Crespi, a cotton merchant who traveled frequently to Baghdad, built this extraordinary villa in 1879. Today, Villa Crespi is a 4-star hotel with a 2-star awarded Michelin restaurant on the premises. We admired the villa from afar which to me seemed like a castle of dreams.

I enjoyed the scenery so much during our drive out of Orta San Giulio. Even though this village is north of Turin there were flowers in bloom most everywhere and what seemed like endless rows of tree foliage.

All photos courtesy of Denis.

Orta San Giulio with Lake Orta in the background

A bookstore under the fresco

Town Hall Garden

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About Rachel Steckler

Culinarian, Slow Food Advocate and Jazz composer...living in Brooklyn
Gallery | This entry was posted in An American in Turin, Italia, Piedmont, Rachel a Torino, Rachel in Turin, Restaurants in Piedmont and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A Day Trip to Lake Orta

  1. I visited Lake of Orta a couple of days ago and it;s a magical place!!!

  2. There are so many beautiful places in Piemonte. Alba, Le Langhe, Monforte D’Alba are also some of my favorites for scenery…especially in the fall. Let me know what your interests are and I will try to guide you more specifically. Saluti!

    • I will do a one’s day trip to Lecco for work(almost for work) and then I was thinking to take another look at Lago d’Orta, so if there is something interesting to explor close Lago d’Orta, it would be ideal because!! Grazie e buona giornata!

  3. Been there,done that!!! E stato un bellisimo viaggio! :-)) Thanx a lot!!

  4. Piemonte says:

    I think Lago d’Orta is a wonderful location, even on a grey day it seems to offer a special atmosphere. There’s also some wonderful restaurants in the area.

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