Concierge.com's insider take:
Soft morning mists are a way of life on this pocket-size lake, just eight miles long and under two miles wide. Orta has a single, must-stay base town of Orta San Giulio, with cream-colored houses roofed with thick slate tiles as well as unforgettable views of Isola di San Giulio (the resident island). A lakeside central square, Piazza Motta, is overlooked by the Palazotto, a frescoed 16th-century building borne up by the stilts of a cozy loggia. Tourist tackiness is almost absent; instead, there are several delicatessens, an antiquarian bookstore, a shop specializing in period jewelry, and an excellent wine barthe cozy Enoteca Re di Coppe at Piazza Motta 32.