Just a few hundred yards offshore from Orta stands Isola San Giulio. Built as a monastery, it was once controlled by the diocese of Sardinia, back in the days before the unification of Italy. Today, it still houses an order of nuns but has also sprouted dozens of private homes owned by the wealthy.
Getting to the island involves a short boat ride from the waterfront of Orta. On average, a fleet of about 8 boats shuttle visitor to the island and back from sunrise to sunset. A walking tour of San Guilio takes about an hour or two, depending on how long you feel like spending in the magnificent cathedral and strolling between buildings that date back many centuries.
Let’s start with what the island looks like from the water.
Now let’s go ashore. We will begin with the cathedral with its magnificent altars and painted ceilings, then continue on around and back to the boat landing.
Finally, a view of the town of Orta as seen from the water on the way back from Isola San Guilio.
Beneath that red awning on the left is a waterfront restaurant that has been in operation for hundreds of years. We dined there on our last evening in Orta with a full moon above and Isola San Giulio shimmering in the distance. It was one of the best meals we had on our journey, as much for the setting as the food.
Later, back home in Chepachet, we found our time in Orta was one of our most treasured memories. Up next, the mysterious case of the train station that wasn’t there!