San Giulio Island, Lago d'Orta

Somewhat upstaged by its imposing big sister, Maggiore, Lago d'Orta is small, intimate, and hopelessly romantic. The town of Orta, is a hidden jewel is worth sleuthing out. The town drips with Baroque and Romanesque architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, tiny shops, imposing villas, churches, and a large central square that opens to the serene lake. The focal point is the small, solitary island of San Giulio with its ancient Basilica of San Giulio. To tour the island - and you should - boats leave every 10 to 15 minutes.

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