Isola di San Giulio, Orta San Giulio
Orta San Giulio
Tel: 39 0322 905 163
Concierge.com's insider take:
The "capital" of Lake Orta is little more than the medieval village of Orta San Giulio. The town's cobblestone streets and main square are charming, but the lake's biggest draw is Isola di San Giulio. Located just a short boat ride from the mainland, the islet is packed with picturesque buildings, including the basilica of San Giulio. According to a local legend (which carries shades of St. Patrick), Giulio surfed over to the island on his miraculously stiffened cloak, drove out the snakes that plagued it, and began building the greatest of the many churches he founded. The basilica contains frescoes from the 14th and 16th centuries and two carved likenesses of the saint in medieval Rambo poses—leaning on his sword on the Romanesque pulpit and engaged in battle with mythological beasts on a wall relief.
Basilica di San Giulio open Mondays 11 am to 12:15 pm, Tuesdays through Sundays 9:30 am to 12:15 pm and 2 to 6 pm. Open 2 pm to 6 pm in summer and 2 to 7 pm in winter.