A Trip to the Italian Lakes

Lago d’Orta

We have just returned from a four day trip to Italy’s northern lakes. We will pen a short post or two about some of the side trips over the course of this week but as a quick intro…

Jo and I had been to Lago di Como previously but Lago d’Orta was recommended by a few people as being worth a visit.

Lago d’Orta at Dusk

The Lake itself is smaller than most of the others (15km long and a max of 2km wide) and much less well known outside Italy. It is circled by the Alps (it is the area of Italy that pushes up into Switzerland) and the skyline is dominated by the snow covered Monte Rossa.

Lakeshore, Lago d’Orta

The lakeshore is lined by beautiful, functioning little villages with narrow cobbled streets and quaint stone houses that have maintained their charm without fuss or pretence.

As you walk through the villages, medieval alleyways off the main streets offer picture-postcard glimpses of the lake, and you are reminded of the primary reason for being there. The overall result is that there is a certain meditative calm about the whole area – it is tranquil and relaxing, and isn’t overrun by tourists.

We did a quick web search and found a bed and breakfast on the Western Shore of the lake – call it blind luck but B&B Melizio is absolutely brilliant.

B&B il Melizio, Lago d’Orta

The B&B is a delightfully converted watermill located on the edge of San Maurizio d’Opaglio (as an aside: a small town known for its production of high quality bathroom taps…).

The property is about an acre, split down the middle by the stream that originally ran the mill, and backs into the forested hills that climb up behind the lake. It is truly beautiful, and spacious.

Breakfast at il Melizio

Our hosts, Maurizio and Mela, have created a stunningly calm and relaxing place. They were the most accommodating and friendly hosts possible, particularly when two very active Australian boys invaded their home!

Maurizio had fantastic recommendations of local sights to visit and Mela’s detailed touches in our rooms and at breakfast made us feel at home and made our stay very comfortable.

Lago d’Orta from Mottarone

As an aside, the breakfasts were to die for – an abundance of heavenly auteniticita homemade biscuits and tortes (I am very keen to get the recipe for the Torta di Pane), and a range of local cured meats and regional cheeses, all of which changed each morning.

The joy of having space wasn’t lost on any of us. T was drawing treasure maps and making ‘quarries’ in the stream while S just charged around, happy to have some grass covered, flat ground to explore (a rarity in Monforte).

In addition, the B&B is home to a family of animals, including two sheep, a pig, two goats, a few chooks, a Shetland pony, several Geese, nine cats and a beautiful German Shepherd called Igor.

Lago d’Orta

One marginally inquisitive goose aside, all of the animals loved the boys and we had great fun watching the animals be fed each day. T took a particular liking to a kitten called Eugenia and to Igor, practicing his Italian on Igor daily, and adding “Igor seduti” (sit) and “Igor vieni” (come) to his vocabulary.

T & S just loved the place, and T was asking to return before we had even left.

If you need a B&B in the Lago d’Orta area, B&B Melizio comes with the highest recommendation from us – Grazie Mille, Maurizio e Mela!


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