Lake Orta (Italian: Lago d’Orta) is a lake in northern Italy west of Lake Maggiore. It has been so named since the 16th century, but was previously called the Lago di San Giulio, after Saint Julius (4th century), the patron saint of the region.
There is a code of silence that surrounds Lake Orta in northern Italy. Visitors are reluctant to tell others about its beauty for fear of increasing … well, the number of visitors. Indeed, it is astonishing how few people – even Italians – know about the place, and it is telling that the Milanese call it La Cenerentola (Cinderella) because they have long considered it the secretly superior sibling to the larger, money-blighted lakes of Como and Maggiore – The Guardian
The main town is Orta San Guilo, a charming town with narrow streets, small shops, restaurants and great views of the Lake.
The lake has always been popular with writers. In the 19th century, Friedrich Nietzsche, Samuel Butler, Lord Byron, Honoré de Balzac and Robert Browning all came here.