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Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 2 - Orta San Giulio

After lunch in a mall of Banevo, we moved on to our next destination, Orta San Giulio.

Orta San Giulio is a historical town located at Lake Orta, the smallest and least-known northern Italy's sub alpine lake. 

We reached the place when the sun was exactly on top of our head. From far, we could see Isola San Giulio floating in the middle of the lake, awesome !

The Italian Lakes hasven't opened up all their treasures to the tourist yet. Also, there is a code of silence that surrounds Lake Orta. Even the the visitors reluctant to tell others about its beauty for fear of increasing the number of visitors.

In fact, it is astonishing how few people, even Italians, know about the place. It's said that the Milanese call it La Cenerentola (Cinderella) beacuse they have long considered it the secretly superior sibling to the larger, money-making lakes of Como and Maggiore.

Orto San Giulio is built on the slopes of a steep hill that forms a peninsula jutting out into the lake.

Its narrow streets are all faded in elegance and charm.

The unknown church stood at one corner quietly. We didn't go inside for a look though.

The place is absurdly ethereal and mysterious.

The people who lives by lake side...

They are the only 3 who swam in the lake at that time.

Posing in front of this mysterious island.

The legend goes that this island, at 400m from the shore of Orta, was once a rock inhabited by snakes and terrible monsters (probably symbol of the presence of heretic Arians) till 390. When Saint Giulio set foot on it, walking the lake water on his cloak and guided by his staff through the storm, the Saint founded a church, where we was later to be buried. 

William looks like a cute Japanese soldier in this hat.

Isola San Giulio, Lake Orta.

The lake has always been popular with writers. In 19th century. I forgot what's the name of this statue writer.

William look particularly cute in that day, probably because of the hat he was wearing.

Fooling around with the writer...

Posing in front of the Villa Bossi, the oldest document in Italy where it's indicated precisely the existence of a legal provision for witchcraft.

Orta San Giulio's woman arrested and prosecuted for the accusation of  witchcraft. In 1340, the burning of the alleged witch took place. Anyway, she was not the first witch to be prosecuted in Italy, but certainly the first witch with some documented information. Even though her name is not known, she was referred simply as the "Orta's Witch".

The main street that leads us to the town center.

Don't know who this pretty girl is.

Usually, these kind of souvenir shops would indicate the town center is just around the corner.

The hotel with a tree growing on the wall.

Very romantic balcony.

Husband said if we walked a little up the hill, we will be able to see a church built in the 15th century. But the weather was too hot to walk uphill. Furthermore, we felt tired, so we gave up. 

As soon as we reached the town center then, we saw this train offering a short tour of Orta San Giulio, but we rather walked. 

Isola San Giulio is just 400m away from the shore. We can see the buildings on the island pretty close up now. 

There are boats carry passengers to the island all year round. So, it's an easy trip.

The beautiful Palazzotto in Piazza Motta, it appears in every post card of Orta San Giulio.

Very old paintings on the wall.

Husband had bought 4 tickets to the island, awaiting for the departure at here.

Those are the boats that carried tourists to the island. We took the private boat though it's a little bit expensive than the ferry which is less frequent. 

ISG, here we come....

On board...it's stuffy inside cause most of the windows can't be opened.

Since Orta is far less developed than the other lakes, there are a dozen small inexpensive hotels. They are mainly family-run place that one can't expect too high for it. 

Husband pointed to this hotel and said he originally wanted to book it for our 2nd night here. But at last, he had chosen the other hotel located on the hill top that can overlook the whole island. 

The house along the lake side.

They all are big houses...I wonder how much does one cost?

5 min later, we sailed far away from the shore and slowing approaching the small island. 

Although small, this is another beautiful lake side town.

By then, the boat sailed to the right side of the island, so we got to see the houses on the right side.

The biggest mansion on the island.

It's hard to imagine why anyone would need such a big house?

This lovely couple had shown to the world what romantic is. 

Then, the boat turned itself to the backside of the island and slowing docking at the pier...

The island is very quiet without the tourist from Asian countries, particularly from China. I like it. 

That's must be Benedettino Monastery.

The interior of the Basilica. As usual, we sat in there for some time, for resting.

The old exterior wall can show how old the building is.

Husband with those big bricks.

We then started a short walk around the island.

This place is so quiet, couldn't hear a sound at all if we didn't make any. No body was seen in the building as well. In fact, we didn't see any local people except the tourists. 

The kids like to drink water whenever they found this, we just let them be.

We continued our walk. Luckily, the place is almost all shaded by the tall buildings, so it's quite relaxing to us. 

Looking at this, I really thought we have lost in time in no where.

The window was opened, so this house should be occupied. Anyway, it was all quiet inside.

A beautiful wooden door.

Taking picture at some one's door step.

Looks like a lonely kid had lost in no where in time.

The broken window he was looking at....

After walking for 10 minutes, finally we saw a shop with some familiar activities going on in there. The sign board is so worn off that I could hardly read it. 

All the things sold here are hand made by the lady owner. She was in her 60-70, I guess. We took some time to check on her art works, some of them are nice but the price is quite expensive. 

She put a long chair outside her shop, and is kind enough for she didn't put a sign of  'NO sitting, please'.

The lady owner had planted many beautiful flowers outside her shop too.

I thought there would be some shops like this ahead waiting for us....Only after we went back to the square one, then I realized this is the-one-and-the-only-one shop in the whole island. 

In fact, walking a fit further from this shop had nearly brought us back to square one.

Alright, that's it about the tour, simple but nice.

Awaiting for the boat to come to pick us...

This time, the boat sailed to the left side of the island. So, we get to see the left side instead.

Good bye pretty.

Going back to the shore...

I didn't know the man who sat besides William, but he was polite enough to participate when husband pointed the camera to us.

We had a dilemma when we got back. It's hard to decide whether we should continue to walk to the other part of the town or just leaving here. Reason was we were quite tired due to jet leg influence. Also, husband said he would need to take quite some time to locate the hotel. When he said that, it means he felt the tension of it. 

For every one's own good, I finally made the call to leave the place.

So, we walked back to the car park by using the same narrow alley at around 4.30 pm.

End of the journey for the day.


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