The calm, mirror effect on its surface, trees rustling with the soft breeze as you leisurely stroll gazing over the villages that seem so small at a distance; Lakes are one of the most soothing destinations to recharge your energy from the hustle and bustle of a city life. In only one hours journey from Milan lies Lake Orta, smaller than its neighbouring Lago Maggiore and Lake Como but certainly not less fascinating. There’s a sense of quietude here, perhaps this is why nuns retreated to the still functioning monastery of the little island of San Giulio, also known as “the island of silence” due the spirituality of the setting. As you dock with a small boat that departs on a daily basis from Orta di San Giulio, you can visit the 4th-century Romanesque Basilica as well as take the ‘walk of silence’ around the island, reading the meditation and awareness aphorisms signposted along the route.
As you return to Orta di San Giulio visit the 19th century Gardens of Villa Motta, with one hectare of trees, plants and flowers carefully planted to be in bloom all year around. This place is also prized for its Camelia selection, with over 250 varieties.
Depending on what your definition of wellness is, there are numerous activities and experiences to endeavour during a trip to Lake Orta. For hiking lovers who seek to be at one with nature, take a walk up to Mount Mottarone with its gentle grassy slopes and an awarding view across seven lakes (Orta, Maggiore, Mergozzo, Biandronno, Varese, Monate e Comabbio) at its peak.
For the fellow yogis out there, there’s the ultimate place for you. At the Mandali Retreat Centre, near the village of Omegna, you can immerse yourselves in a world of quietude joining the numerous retreats hosted on a monthly basis whether it’s a three day or seven day experience of profound spirituality and sacred practice.
But if wellness simply means escaping from reality and spending your day getting pampered and reading a book by the pool then look into booking your stay at Laqua by the Lake, a contemporary hotel by Cinzia and Antonino Cannavacciuolo, with three Michelin stars at his restaurant Villa Crespi, of tasteful design and a spa like no other. The property has collaborated with The Longevity Suite, a wellness and anti-aging clinic where you can experience Cryotherapy, a method that aids circulation, lymphatic flow and accelerates the metabolism by basically walking into a freezer. Conclude this miracle-for-the-body with a deep tissue massage followed by a calming tisane and embrace the simple pleasures of nourishing your physical and mental wellbeing.
So if a trip in between spa days, meditation and sound baths, retracing the steps of history and challenging hikes sounds like the soothing, autumnal lake trip you’ve been dreaming of, this may just be your new, favourite destination.