Situated in the Cusio area, between the plain of Ossola and the western shore of lower Lake Maggiore, Lake Orta is known as one of the most romantic lakes of Italy.
The main towns on its shores are Omegna and Orta San Giulio. Omegna, situated at the northern tip of the lake is the well-known centre of the district that produces household articles and is also famous for the ancient festivity of St Vitus.
From Omegna, the circular itinerary around the lake shore leads to Nonio and then to Cesara with the fascinating sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso. Crossing into the province of Novara, the first towns are Pella, a small tourism destination, San Maurizio d’Opaglio, which hosts the Museo del Rubinetto, and Gozzano.
The jewel of the lake is Orta San Giulio and the offshore island of the same name. Orta San Giulio is a little treasure chest of history and art, a medieval town with aristocratic palaces, typical stone masonry and narrow lanes, from where you can reach the Sacred Mount of Orta, UNESCO world heritage. From the small port, you can take a boat over to the picturesque island of San Giulio dominated by its Romanesque church and ancient monastery.
The Val Strona, with its seven municipalities, completes the Cusio area. Today it still conserves traditions and culture from the past including fabrication of pewter, copper and brass items and, above all, woodworking. The production of Pinocchio manikins is an example: the wooden puppet of Collodi is made here by expert craftsmen and sold all over the world.