Lake Orta, or Lake Cusio, lies to the west of Lake Maggiore, between the provinces of Novara and Verbano Cusio-Ossola, and is the westernmost of the pre-Alpine lakes.
Its beautiful shores are highly varied: on the eastern side of the lake are the gentle slopes of the hills, surrounded by Mount Mottarone, whereas on the western side are steep shores and the less accessible mountains of Valstrona and Val Sesia.
Lake Orta has a surface of 18.2 km2, a length of 13.4 km from north to south and a maximum width of 2.5 km.
The distinctive and picturesque villages along its shores are rich in woods and cultivated fields and offer a wide range of activities for tourists. For instance, Orta San Giulio: the renowned holiday village, located in the central part of the eastern shore, that gave its name to the lake.
Facing Orta San Giulio is the beautiful St Julius’ Isle (Isola diSan Giulio), dominated by a Romanesque basilica, an Episcopal palace and a Benedictine abbey.