At the exit of Varallo in the direction of Civiasco, there is a small village perched on the hill. The beautiful architecture of the houses and the cobbled streets, leads you up to the Colma pass. It is the border between Val Sesia and Verbano and a quick route to the western shore of Lake Orta. Rugged and forested here, but sweet and soft on the eastern side which carry the hills that separate Lake Maggiore from Orta. They are both quite populated and scattered with small villages overlooking the lake.
Lake Orta has an area of 18.2 sq km to 290 m above sea level and reaches a depth of 143 m. At the northern end is Omegna where the only outlet of the lake originates. The Nigoglia is directed northwards (a unique case among the emissaries of the pre-alpine lakes ) .
Orta San Giulio is on the eastern shore and famous for its renowned and romantic holiday resorts. It is dominated by the Sacro Monte, with its 20 frescoed chapels by Morazzone. The island of San Giulio is in front of the town where a IV century Basilica can be seen and where some cloistered nuns still live today. Legend has it that the two Greek brothers Julius and Julian, from the island of Aegina arrived on the shores of the lake with the intent to destroy the places of worship of the pagans and convert them into churches. San Giulio found that the small island was the ideal place for a church. When he found no one willing to take him there, he spread his cloak on the water and it miraculously transported him to the island, where he defeated the dragons and snakes that lived there and laid the foundations of the basilica that bears his name.
The ancient roots of the area, its landscapes and its picturesque villages all of which sources of inspiration for writers, painters and filmmakers, have not prevented these places from developing traditional crafts and gaining industrial importance. It is an area known for the production of taps. It is most famous for being the “ housewive’s district ” and focuses on the area of Omega where the outlets of Alessi, Lagostina, Girmi, Calderoni and Piazza are.