Hotel San Rocco, Orta San Giulio ****
This delightful four-star hotel in Novara province has a stunning setting on the shores of Lake Orta and fabulous views of the lake and its island. The picturesque old village of Orta San Giulio is one of the prettiest in this lovely area. View hotel
Double rooms from €110
Hotel Santa Caterina, Orta San Giulio ***
Hotel Santa Caterina, in the charming lakeside village of Orta San Giulio, not far from the town centre and within easy reach of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sacro Monte (the holy mountain) and the lake. View hotel
Double rooms from €70
Hotel Villa Crespi, Orta San Giulio ****
This super four-star hotel is housed in a wonderful Moorish-style villa built in the 19th century, topped with a tall minaret and surrounded by generous parkland which slopes down to the lake. The Hotel Villa Crespi, near Orta San Giulio, is a small luxury hotel. View hotel
Double rooms from €220
A lovely little village on the eastern banks of Lake Orta (Lago d'Orta), Orta San Giulio sits on the tip of a peninsula pushing into the lake, a picture book confection of pastel-painted houses on narrow cobbled streets. Orta is the main centre on this shore of the lake, lying in Piedmont's Novara province, around 40km north west of Novara itself. The city of Turin (Torino) is around 100km south west of here.
Behind and above the town is the Sacro Monte, a place of pilgrimage, with 21 chapels devoted to St Francis of Assisi. Since 2003, the Sacro Monte d'Orta has been designated a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Even if the spirit of religious devotion doesn't burn strongly within (and some of the painted tableaux of St Francis's life do border on the tacky) you will find the trip up to Sacro Monte well worthwhile for the super views of Lake Orta below. Surrounded by pine trees, this is a delightful and fragrant spot.
The other must-see at Orta San Giulio is the Isola San Giulio, the diminutive island hamlet floating just offshore, and home to the 12th century basilica, the tower of the same, and a starkly white seminary. Back in Orta San Giulio, and you'll find some good bars and restaurants. Everything is based around the two main piazzas of the Piazza Motta and the Piazzetta Ernesto Ragazzoni.