The village of Orta, its lake and the island of San Giulio have their roots in ancient history.
Legend has it that Saint Giulio had instructed his brother Giuliano to build in Gozzano the ninety-ninth church. Then, he set off alone in search of a place where to build the hundredth church. When he arrived on the lake shore and saw the island, he decided he would erect his church there. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find anyone willing to carry him on the island. Giulio apparently spread his cloak on the lake water and reached the island
by sailing on it. Once he landed, he fought and defeated dragons and snakes that lived on the island, a symbol of pagan superstition, getting rid of them forever and thus laying the foundations of the hundredth church on the same spot where the Basilica of San Giulio is now standing.
Land, coast and water, a jewel enclosed within the mountains, constantly disputed by the rulers, with its unusual scents, and continuous interweaving
of odours of lake water, moss, osmanthus, cypress, and of lovely owers like hydrangeas that give Orta its unmistakable, enchanted feel.