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The Island of San Giulio and Lake Orta

Travel in Italy


First of all, the island of San Giulio is called the Island of Silence. And indeed, if you are lucky enough to visit it on an uncrowded day, you will immediately understand that it is true.

But do you know why this island in the middle of Lake Orta has managed to preserve itself and keep its atmosphere intact?

The explanation lies in the monastery that owns the island. The nuns who reside there, a community of nearly eighty religious, live a life of contemplation and prayer.

For this reason, maximum silence is required and respect for tourists who are allowed to visit the island and, again for this reason, the navigation service used by tourists to get to the island of San Giulio stops at 18.00.


From that time on, the island of Orta San Giulio returns to being just an oasis of prayer and peace, which only nuns, pilgrims and very few inhabitants can enjoy.

The island of San Giulio is part of the municipality of Orta San Giulio which is divided into two parts: Orta - which is on the mainland - and the small island of San Giulio of Lake Orta, is located about 400 meters from the shore and it is almost entirely occupied by the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery.

Today it is inhabited by very few families, besides the nuns of the monastery. However, there are several second homes.

You can get there comfortably by car, but you can also reach Lake Orta by train, getting off at the "Orta - Miasino" station and then reaching the island of San Giulio with the public navigation service.

The island of San Giulio is located right in front of the village of Orta San Giulio, about 400 meters in the middle of Lake Orta.

Arriving in the town square of Orta you will find the boatmen who will accompany you with a very short ride to the island. The cost of the boat is affordable and it is not necessary to book.

The visit to the island of San Giulio can be done independently even if guided tours are also organized from the Park of the Fantasy in Omegna, which are dedicated to children.

This island on Lake Orta is truly fascinating, so much so that a film was also shot here ("Correspondence"). If you want to visit the island of San Giulio on a special day, choose 31 January, the patron saint's day and the day when the nuns prepare bread with walnuts and chocolate: it seems to be delicious!

Finally, if, once you have visited the island, you realize that you would really like to stay there, you should know that it is possible to do so by asking the Benedictine nuns for hospitality. The nuns, however, host only women and the alarm clock ... is at 4.00 in the morning for prayer!


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