The small town of Orta San Giulio lies on the eastern shore of Lake Orta. It is situated on a peninsular of rock that juts into the lake with
a lizard-like shape.
Old house and palaces cluster by the lake and on the lower slopes of the Sacro Monte mountain that arises in the centre of the peninsular.
The main square, called the sitting-room of Orta, is surrounded on three sides by porticos and cafes. The fourth and western side is open to the lake; from here boats ply to the island opposite.