Often overlooked for its bigger sisters, Como and Maggiore, Lake Orta is just one hour from Milan. The lake itself, has inspired many writers of the 18th and 19th Century including Lord Byron, Honore de Balzac and Robert Browning.
Lake Orta is one of Italy’s little known hidden gems, but this lake is bursting with myths and legends. Lake Orta is a freshwater lake overflowing with natural beauty and a fascinating history. It is a photographer’s paradise, that is ever-changing, in which you can explore a myriad of cultural and historical sites that the lake and surrounding area has to offer.
Where to stay:
Casa Fantini, right on the shores of the lake in unfounded luxury and peace.
What to do?
You can rent your own boat from the dock of the hotel to San Giulio Island, where you will go for a picnic with the lunch that the hotel Chef has created (just for you). If you wish, there will be a personal guide provided for you and give you suggestions on where to go. When you arrive to San Giulio, there will be a staircase that leads o the Roman Basilica, in which you will see some very impressive art. You can walk through the alleys of the island to find silence and meditation.
Take e-bike tours around the lake and up to the mountains for some breathtaking views. You can also get a tailor made e-bike tour; there are three that range from adventurous to calm.
You can walk around the historical village of Orta San Giulio, which is part of the ‘Borghi Piu belli d’Italia (the Italian circuit of small towns with strong historical and artistic interest).
Indulge in the land of wine and truffles with an arranged wine and food tour. In only two hours you can be in the Langhe, where there are the Alba, Neive, Bergolo, and Borolo villages which are the peak of the food and wine in Northern Italy.
Visit the sacred alpine mountains on the hill tops, which hold a UNESCO world heritage site of Sacro Mont di Orta. There are 21 chapels with frescoes and 375 terracotta sculptures on the life of the Saint San Francesco d’Assisi, at the top of the hill that overlooks Lake Orta.
Should you fancy a drive, you can wind through the mountain roads to a a Baroque style sanctuary, where you can see the church of Madonna del Sasso. This is located on a granite spur overlooking the water with magnificent views of Lake Orta.
Another drive option is a vintage car ride with a local historian guide that allows you to discover the culture and the history of this area. You can also take nature walks through the park, visit local design houses and e-bike to the panoramic views from the Belvedere of Quarna to the Sacro Monte of Orta San Giulio.
What about a photography lesson in a boat with a professional photographer and delicious picnic packed by the chef? Sign me up, please.
Finally, don’t forget about all of the self-care pampering rituals set up by Casa Fantini. You can try the comfort zone “tranquility sleep ritual” which is a Ayurvedic massage that induces a state of deep rest and relaxation that acts on the neurological pathways and the three senses with essential oils and Indonesian Sea Malay. Tip: book after 5pm for the best sleep you’ve ever had. Of course there are other treatments available.
Make sure you relax by the tranquil ‘lake-time’ concept that the hotel embraces. Everything at Casa Fantini is designed to take you on a slow calm journey that is in harmony with the lake’s rhythm; even the sweet orange, rose, and cedar wood fragrance inside the hotel have been created to inspire a soothing home atmosphere to leave you feeling nurtured and nourished.
I love the hidden gems and the off-the-beaten-path luxury and Casa Fantini and Lake Orta, check off all of those boxes!
Check out my ‘10 Pro Travel Tips‘ post to make sure you get the most out of your stay!
Have you booked your ticket yet?