Italian Government Tourist Board North America 


The Lakes of Italy


 Italian Government Tourist Board - North America


Lake Orta - Island of San Giulio

Lake Orta - Island of San Giulio
Lake Orta               
Lake Orta (also called Cusio) is at an altitude of 290 m and has a surface area of around 18.5 square km and a maximum depth of 143 m. The area around the lake was inhabited in Roman times and then it was part of a Longobard duchy. The territory of Lake Orta belonged to the Church and to Milan, becoming part of the Kingdom of Sardinia towards the end of the 18th century.

On the
Island of San Giulio, in the center of the lake there is the ancient and attractive Basilica of San Giulio, with interesting 15th century frescoes.

Orta San Giulio has a very pleasant climate, made mild by the presence of the lake. It is worth visiting the Palazzo della Comunità, of the 16th century, and the parish church, of the 15th century. At little more than a kilometer away there is the interesting Sacro Monte (Holy Hill), a wooded hill with a religious complex made up of around twenty chapels dedicated to Saint Francis, put up between the 16th and 18th centuries and decorated with frescoes and sculptures.
The Lakes of Avigliana
The Lakes of Avigliana, ofThe Lakes of Avigliana glacial origin, are around 2 km from the center of the town of Avigliana. They are separated by an isthmus and are called lago Grande (or the Lake of Avigliana), and lago Piccolo (or the lake of Trana), due to their respective sizes.In the surrounding area the splendid Natural Park has particular flora and fauna and it is also possible to go horse riding here. The main tourist and sporting activities take place on the shores of lago Grande, while the zone of the isthmus is a popular camping area.

Avigliana is perhaps of Celtic origin and the origin of its name seems to be connected to apiculture which was an important commercial activity in the Roman era.In the middle-ages the monks of the nearby Abbey of Novalesa built a hospital and guest house there to accommodate the pilgrims from France traveling to Rome. In 1045 it became part of the kingdom of Savoy and was the residence of the kingdom's rulers until 1418. The Church of San Giovanni (12th-14th century) with its 15th century frescoes and late 16th century chiseled pulpit is well worth a visit. The Casa della Porta Ferrata ( House of the Iron clad door), with Gothic mullions and arches, the House of Savoy (15th century), the House of the Blessed Umberto III (12th century) and the Church of Saint Peter (10th-11th century), with 15th century frescoes, are also very attractive. Nearby there is the Gothic Church of Sant' Antonio di Ranverso (12th-15th century), with paintings by Jaquerio (15th century) and Ferrari (16th century).

The Sacra di San MicheleThe Sacra di San Michele, a sort of church-fortress of great artistic interest, is a must. Perched at a dizzy height of almost 1000 m it dominates the whole valley of Susa. The monastery is an extraordinary building which occupies the whole area of the rocky peak of Mount Pirchiriano . Its construction began in the last years of the 10th century just around a small three-choir church which was consecrated to the Archangel Saint Michael, and it lasted four centuries, from the 11th to the 14th century.
It soon became one of the most famous Benedictine monuments in Europe.

Lake Viverone
Lake Viverone, situated at an altitude of 230 m,Lake Viverone is of morainic origin. It extends over an area of about 8.5 square km and reaches a depth of 50 m. On its shores many prehistoric artifacts have been found, particularly from the bronze age.

Viverone is a town with ancient origins, with evidence of settlement as far back as the bronze age and with Roman and paleochristian remains. Today it is a pleasant tourist center.

For more information: 
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