Come with us as we explore Italy and check out properties for Gira! Italian Vacation Rentals.
Orta San Giulio is a beautiful lakeside town that gently radiates old world charm. The main square serves as a vantage point to look out at the mysterious island of Isola San Giulio, which lies right before you, at times almost close enough to touch.
Although it’s not such a large town, its stone streets and walkways persistently invite you to wander and explore. You begin to understand why Lake Orta is the favorite of poets, musicians, painters, sculptors and writers. It feels like a place that holds a treasure of secrets and mysteries that have been left here over the centuries. A place that easily relaxes and inspires you.
It’s the middle of October and the tourists are mostly gone. While we lounge beside the lakefront, a small wedding party comes through the square, walks on to the pier and poses for their photographer, providing a show for everyone to watch. They are jolly and in a few minutes they are gone, off to the celebration.
Children devise makeshift fishing lines and toss them over the side, hoping for something to take home. Mostly they are fooling around, having fun on the lake before mama calls them home for dinner.
A group of laughing Americans makes a noise at the Venus Ristorante, the outdoor café that overlooks the lake. When they are gone, we venture over and enjoy a glass of local wine and some tasty bar snacks. We go inside to pay and strike up a conversation with a friendly Orta native who has been to our country. He is lively and talkative and it’s a pleasure to share small talk with him. He invites us to see his glass and ceramics shop across the square. It’s locked, but he opens it for us and shows off his beautiful merchandise. He’ll be retiring soon, he says. His pension and his wife’s will be enough to live on from here on out, and he is a satisfied man.
Dinner time has arrived and we make our way to Pizzeria La Campana, and it turns into one of the most delightful meals of our trip. Could it be because this is our first dinner in Italy in a long while? It’s a warm and friendly family-run place. The perfect setting for a cozy and unrushed evening meal. The house wine is humble and perfect and the pizzas are delicious and fun to take apart. In the next room, the TV is showing a silly Italian reality show and the family members are gathered around, laughing. It’s slow season and they can take the time. We love it so much that we come back again the second night and have the same thing.
On our way back to the hotel, we cross the square once again and notice the large and abandoned Albergo Orta, empty except for the memories of years past when it was a prominent hotel.
Lake Orta offers some nice vacation rentals, both with excellent positions and direct lake access. One is called Villa Rubina and it’s close enough to the town that you can see it across the water. You couldn’t ask for a more peaceful waterside setting, with boats passing gently by. While you are relaxing by the pool, the island of Isola S. Giulio beckons to you and the mountains surrounding the lake provide a colorful backdrop.
Up to five guests can stay at Villa Rubina. For groups up to nine people, there is also Bella Orta, which backs up to the small village of Crabbia. On its front side, it offers sprawling grounds with a pathway down to a lakeside boathouse.
As we retire for the evening, we decide that the island is too tempting and resolve to make a visit the next day.
Tomorrow: Isola San Giulio