17-1 Route 27. ORTA. From Stresa
near which a path ascends to the right in 10 min. to the Sacro Monte
(see below), and (8/4 M.) Orta.
Orta (1220 ft.; *H6tel S. Giulio, in the market-place and on the
lake, R. Xr A. 3y2, D- 472fr-; Leon d'Oro, also on the lake; Due
Spade , at the back of the piazza, on the road to the Sacro Monte;
one-horse carr. to Gravellona 8fr.), a small town, with narrow
streets paved with marble slabs, and a handsome villa of the Mar¬
quis Natta of Novara (at the S. entrance), is most picturesquely
situated on a promontory extending into the Lake of Orta at the
base of a precipitous cliff. On the lake (I74 M. in breadth, 71/2 M.
in length), which of late has been officially called Lago Cusio, after
its supposed ancient name, a steamer plies four times daily, touching
to the S. of Orta, at the stations of Pascolo, Isola S. Giulio, and
Buccione (whence an omnibus runs to the Gozzano railway-station,
p. 79), and on the N. proceeding by Pella (see belojv), Pettenasco,
Ronco, and Oira to Omegna at the N. end of the lake. From Buc¬
cione to Omegna in li/2 hr., fare 1 fr. 50c. or 1 fr.
Above Orta rises the Sacro Monte (ascent from the principal piazza, or
through the garden of the Villa Natta, on which route a fee is expected for
the opening of the upper gate), a beautifully wooded eminence, laid out
as a park, on which 20 chapels were erected in the 16th cent, in honour
of S. Francis of Assisi, each containing a scene from the life of the saint.
The life-size figures are composed of terracotta, highly coloured, with a
background al fresco; as a whole, though destitute of artistic worth, the
representations are spirited and effective. The best groups are in the
13th, 16th, and 20th chapels, the last representing the canonization of the
saint and the assembly of cardinals. The "Tower on the summit of the
hill commands an admirable panorama; the snowy peak of Monte Rosa rises
to the W. above the lower intervening mountains. The lEremita del Monte''
expects a fee of 3/t-l fr., for showing the above-mentioned three chapels.
Opposite Orta rises the rocky island of S. Giulio, covered with
trees and groups of houses (boat there and back 1 fr.; also steamboat-
station). The Church, founded by St. Julius, who came from
Greece in 379 to convert the inhabitants of this district to Christian¬
ity, has been frequently restored; it contains several good reliefs,
some ancient frescoes, a handsome pulpit in the Romanesque style,
and in the sacristy a Madonna by Gaudenzio Ferrari.
On the W. bank of the lake , opposite the island , the white
houses of the village of Fella (small Cafe') peep from the midst of
vineyards and groves of chestnut and walnut-trees. Boat from Orta
to Pella lfr. with one rower; steamboat, see above).
A path towards the S. winds upwards from Pella, through a grove of
chestnut and fruit trees, in I72 hr. to the Madonna del Sasso, the pictur¬
esque church of the village of Boletlo. An open space by the church, on
the brink of a precipice several hundred feet above the lake, commands
a fine prospect.
From Pella over the Colina to Varallo 5 hrs. (donkey 7, or, to
the Colma only, 372fr-; guide unnecessary). A steep path ascends
the hill to the W., traversing luxuriant gardens (vines, figs, pump¬
kins , and fruit-trees); after 12 min. we avoid the ascent to the
right. In 1 hr. (from PelLaD 'we reach Arola, at a small chapel