First stop: Omegna, between modern and traditional.
The main centre in the area is Omegna, in the lake's most northerly point.
It stretches along the Nigoglia river, the lake's only outflow towards the Alpine lakes to the north.
An industrial and artisan town, Omegna is the capital of household appliances: it was here that the moka espresso was invented and the first pressure cooker was manufactured.
When we get to the city, we park the campervan (parking is in Via Caduti di Bologna) and walk to the historic centre and its lovely waterfront.
The centre revolves around the Piazza XXIV Aprile, the narrow streets and alleys of the so-called Vatican Quarter old town are characteristic. Some of the houses are from medieval times, like the portico where once the valley cheeses were sold. The Ponte Antico is interesting, attributed to Roman times but going back to the 15th century, as does the Porta Romana, which despite its name goes back to 1100 and is all that remains of the 5 city gates that led to the city centre in medieval times.
The Collegiata S. Ambrogio is definitely worth a visit. According to ancient Omegna history, this church once had a pagan altar where today the Rosario chapel is. The building of late Romanesque, the interior is Baroque and houses the body of the martyr San Vito in its funerary urn; San Vito is the patron saint of Omegna.
We get back in the campervan and carry on southwards, to one of the "most beautiful villages in Italy" (according to the Italian Touring Club), and surely one of the most characteristic: Orta San Giulio.
We park at the entrance to the town on the Via Panoramica and continue on foot.