Lake Orta

This picturesque region northwest of Lake Orta makes for a splendid day's drive. West out of Omegna, 14km of winding valley road follows a deep river gorge, the Torrente Strona, on a verdant, meandering course northwest to the settlement of Forno (850m). The object of the trip is essentially to take in the scenery, which becomes more dramatic the higher you climb. Keep your eyes open for majestic spring waterfalls and snowcapped mountains (most of the year) in the background.

From Forno, a 3km track leads west to the Campello Monti, mountain pasture land that was inhabited in the 13th century by the Walser community. The Walsers, speakers of a German dialect from the Upper Valais area of southern Switzerland, migrated to various parts of southern Switzerland, Austria and northern Italy during the Middle Ages. In the 13th century they arrived here. To this day, they maintain their dialect and a scattering of their traditional timber farmhouses.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lake Orta attractions

1. Sacro Monte di Varallo

8.23 MILES

Situated 66km northwest of Vercelli in northern Piedmont, Varallo guards the Sacro Monte di Varallo, the oldest of Italy's nine Sacri Monti (Sacred…

2. Monte Mottarone

8.83 MILES

The cable-car trip up Monte Mottarone (1492m) from the northwestern end of Stresa offers pretty views over Lake Maggiore, including Isola Bella and Isola…

3. Parco Nazionale Val Grande

9.44 MILES

A wooded wilderness set amid a little-visited stretch of the Italian Alps, the Parco Nazionale Val Grande is far removed from the more domesticated beauty…

4. Giardino Botanico Alpinia

10.85 MILES

More than 1000 alpine and subalpine species flourish in this 4-hectare botanical garden set partway up Monte Mottarone. It was founded in 1934 and…

5. Isola San Giulio

11.01 MILES

Anchored barely 500m in front of Piazza Mario Motta is Isola San Giulio. The island is dominated by the 12th-century Basilica di San Giulio, full of…

6. Basilica di San Giulio

11.05 MILES

This atmospheric church is the main attraction on the tiny Isola San Giulio and was built over various periods dating back to the 9th century. Its bell…

7. Piazza Mario Motta

11.06 MILES

Here's a picture of how life really should be lived: rise early and head for a coffee on Piazza Mario Motta, gazing across at the sun-struck Isola San…

8. Chiesa dell'Assunta

11.06 MILES

A short walk uphill from the Piazza Mario Motta on the waterfront, this church dates back to the 15th century, though it was rebuilt in the 1700s. It has…