Visiting Lake Orta is like travelling through time. Maybe it's the peacefulness and beauty of its body of water surrounded by gentle peaks where many small historic hamlets are nestled. Or maybe it's Orta itself, the town known as "the pearl of the Cusio area". This description is not an exaggeration: you will see why when you explore the pedestrian medieval hamlet, which develops around Piazza Motta and the Broletto, the 16th century municipal palace with a frescoed lodge. Orta is home to artisans' ateliers, cafes, lake shore restaurants, noble palaces along narrow cobbled streets and the imposing Villa Bossi, with its gardens that reflect in the lake and the "painter", a sculpture-symbol in the act of painting Saint Giulio Island, which is located right across the stretch of water. Just outside Orta, on the hills of the Cusio that lead to the mountain of Mottarone, you find a mosaic of enchanting towns and villages. In the lush green forest of the Natural Reserve, you can spot the Sacro Monte, the Sacred Mount UNESCO with 20 chapels dedicated to the life of Saint Francis of Assisi.