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near Orta San Giulio, Piemonte (Italia)
Hike (8 km) around the Orta San Giulio peninsula with a visit by boat (1.6 km) to the Isola di San Giulio and a climb onto the Sacro Monte di San Fransesco. The boats to the island leave every 20 minutes in summer and cost 3€15 (see http://www.navigazionelagodorta.it/en/). On the holy mount you can visit 20 chapels dedicated to Saint Francis, and the views are great.
Starting point is the Piazzale Prarondo, where there is paid parking. From here you descend to the water front via a road and a path. The walking path along the lake is called Via 11 Settembre, which changes into Via Ettorre Motta when you move around the Punta Movero. The path becomes a road when you enter the picturesque village. You follow the road until the central square, Piazza Mario Motta. Here is also the harbor with boats taking you to the Isola San Giulio every 20 minutes. There is always a crowd of boatmen waiting to point you to the right boat. There are also ferries to other destinations on the lake. The boat takes you around the island for the view and then docks on Piazza San Giulio. Here you take a hike around the island with occasional one way streets to the water front (about 800 m). When you are done you take the next boat back to Orta San Giulio. Here you continue along the lake on Via Giovanetti, which turns into Via Giuseppe Fava. After the most southern point of the peninsula you turn right on another walkway along the lake to Ortello. From here you walk up the hill to Via San Quirico which takes you to the cemetery. From here you walk up the cobblestoned road to the Sacro Monte. Here you follow the signs along all the 20 chapels dedicated to San Francesco plus an added ‘New chapel’. At the end waits the church dedicated to the Saints Nicolas and Francis with also the best view of the lake and the island. You walk down to the parking lot of the Sacro Monte and then follow a path down towards Villa Crespi, an expensive hotel restaurant with oriental architecture. You follow the main road for a bit before going down to the lake shore, where you follow the walkway Via 11 Settembre back to where you entered it at the start, and then walk back up to the parking lot.
Timing on the track is not shown as I did the boat tour later than the rest of the walk. Most bars and restaurants you will find around the Piazza Mario Motta. There is also one at the island.
Here the boats leave. The boats to the island leave every 20 minutes in summer and cost 3€15 (see http://www.navigazionelagodorta.it/en/). There is always a crowd of boatmen waiting to point you to the right boat.
New chapel with viewpoint that was closed off during my hike
Church on the Sacro Monte with a nice viewpoint in front
Island of the holy Julius
Central square in Orta San Giulio
Arrival point for the boat from Orta
Walkway on the south side of the peninsula
Walkway on the north side of the peninsula
Walkway on the north-west side of the peninsula
Street from Piazza Mario Motta along the lake
Nice viewpoint from the Sacro Monte
Expensive hotel restaurant with moorish/oriental architecture