Feast of San Vito (August - various dates)
Known as the patron saint of the music and arts, San Vito (St Vitus) is celebrated throughout the month of August in various locations around the beautiful Lake Orta. From orchestral performances on the waterfront to artisan food stalls and bars offering both local and Sicilian inspired dishes to honour the origins of San Vito.
The Way of Silence Walk (Available throughout the season)
On the small Isola San Guilio (Island of St Julius) is an unassuming but truly one of a kind experience - The Walk of Silence. A former pilgrimage route for Monks, this is a wonderful opportunity to see the hidden treasures of the island as well as finding focus and peace and quiet in its stunning surroundings. You're lead through the alleys of San Guilio by signs instructing you to listen out for particular sounds. More than just a historical walk, the route was pioneered by acoustic ecologists as a means of understanding the island by way of the landscape. As the trail loops around the whole island, be aware that it is rather long however if you tire and wish to return, you can follow the signs back the way you came and marvel at different sounds just as a result of changing direction.
POPULAR WALKS include:
Pettenasco Walk / 2 hrs / Easy
The Pettenasco walk is dedicated to Peter Benson, creator and founder of Amnesty International in 1961. A relaxing lake view walk close to the water along the path starting from the Hotel Approdo for about 1km. Alongside the path there are four little free beaches with wonderful views and benches to stop and relax.
Peninsula of Orta San Giulio / 2 hrs (approx) / Moderate
From Piazza Motta, follow a path that skirts the lake and gently follows the curve of the peninsula of Orta until you reach the tip of the peninsula, Punta Movero, where you can stop and enjoy a wonderful view over the lake and the island. Follow the path flanked by the lake on one side and past woods and farms on the right, until the end of the peninsula, where you will begin the climb that leads to the Sacro Monte. Here you walk through a natural reserve, visiting the 21 ancient chapels that describe the life of St Francis of Assisi. At the northern end is a Franciscan Monastery from where stunning views of the lake and the Island of San Giulio can be enjoyed. You descend on the opposite side of the Sacro Monte all the way back to Orta San Giulio and Piazza Motta.
Orta - Vacciago - Corconio / 3 hrs / Easy
Start the walk from the village of Orta San Giulio on the way to Legro, better known as ‘the Painted Village’ due to the fact that many houses there have an external wall decorated with painted scenes from films shot on Lake Orta. Continue uphill passing local houses and fields before getting to the small village of Vacciago, where you will walk through elegant old houses and buildings and will discover the old church of St. Antonio. You will then leave Vacciago walking down to the gorgeous hamlet of Corconio, known as the baroque part of Orta San Giulio, where you find the beautiful Villa Bonola as well as the the tiny baroque church of Santo Stefano erected in the 17th century. Corconio, in a clear day, offers superb views of Mount Rosa (15,200 feet high), an imposing peak of the Alps which hides behind Lake Orta. Walk back to Orta San Giulio.