Lake Orta (Cusio)

Orta San Giulio
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How to get

By car: from the A26 exit at Borgomanero and continue in the direction of Gozzano-Orta San Giulio, or exit at Gravellona Toce and follow the signs for Omegna.
By train: railways stations of Omegna, Orta-Miasino, Pettenasco or Gozzano.


Lake Orta is separated from the much larger Lake Maggiore by Monte Mottarone. Despite its enchanting mountain scenery and leafy shores, it was for a long time off the major tourist routes, which means that it has succeeded in keeping its original charm.

Lake and mountain together form an environment that has inspired poets and painters through the centuries.

Lake Orta covers an area of 18.15 sq km and is 143m deep at its deepest point off the village of Oira. The lake has a long, narrow shape and relatively shallow water, with few tributaries, so that the underground springs feeding it assume great importance.

The Romans called the lake “Cusius”, which in its Italian form of “Cusio” is still used today to refer to the whole area. In the Middle Ages it was known as the “Lake of San Giulio”.  Its present name of “Orta” was taken from the burgh of Orta San Giulio, once its most important administrative centre and unofficial capital.