James McIntosh, June 12 2013
Last week we took two hiking trips up into the hills surrounding Lake Orta to get a panoramic view of the place we have called home for the last five weeks.
Our first destination was Madonna del Sasso, a church perched high on a cliff on the south west side of the lake.
From Pella we had a grueling 45 degree hike to the church, but when we finally reached our destination we were rewarded with truly stunning views of Orta, the Alps and even the city of Milan, 80 km in the distance.
Having seen Lake Orta and its surroundings from the western side, on our next day off we decided to make the intense three hour climb to the summit of Mottarone (4,895 ft).
Mottarone is the highest point between Lake Orta and Lake Maggiore and on a clear day one can see seven of the Italian Lakes. The summit is home to a small ski resort with 21 km of downhill skiing.
The hike was pretty exhausting, but the view from the top was well worth it. If you ever make it out to Lake Orta in the summer, hiking to the summit of Mottarone is a must.
Of course if you’re rich and lazy and stay in a five-star hotel in Stresa on the Lake Maggiore side, then there is a cable car to the top. But that’s cheating.