Omegna, the birthplace of worldwide known industries of household items like Alessi, Bialetti, Lagostina, Ruffoni, has been for many years the main centre for production of pots and small home appliances in Italy, today the town represents the cultural reference point of the whole territory and is slowly converting its economy into tourism. The Lake of Orta is situated at west of Lake Maggiore.
Contrary to what usually happens to alpine lakes, which have the effluent to the south, the waters of Lake of Orta, are going out to the north, giving life to the Nigoglia stream, which then flows into the Strona and across the river Toce, in the Lake Maggiore. Cusio, as it’s also called the lake and the sourrounding area, is a fascinating land rich in nature, art and culture. The gem of the lake is Orta San Giulio, at about 11 kmts from Omegna, a small village rich in medieval architecture with its tight and suggestive alleys and its Sacro Monte where twenty chapels were builded from 16th to 19th century. On the Island of St. Giulio, according to legend, Giulio defeated at the end of fourth century, dragons and snakes. Founded in 1844, the old Seminary is today an abbey that accommodates a community of Benedictine nuns. The island is dominated by the Basilica of San Giulio, commissioned by the Saint in the IV Century where you can admire the wall paintings that reproduce images of Saints and paintings realized by the apprentices of the painter Gaudenzio Ferrari.( open to visitors everyday from 9.30 to 12.15 and from 14.00 to 18.00 (Info: Tel. +39 0322 905614). A Public boats service is running on Lake Orta (www.navigazionelagodorta.it) from Omegna to Orta San Giulio and to the main villages of the area. Another public boat service (www.motoscafisti.com) will take you to the Island from Orta.