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Staying on San Giulio Island

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Staying on San Giulio Island

I am trying to plan a restful yet active summer vacation with my family of five (two adults and three older kids/teens) that would involve either a lake or ocean AND a cute village/town they could explore on their own. In other words, I don't want to be on the outskirts where a car is necessary to get around. We are going for a week and it is more restful for us if we have cooking facilities so I am trying to find a villa/flat for rent but having no luck in Cinque Terre so I have been looking at the lakes region.

For our dates (either late June or late August), I found a lovely home on the little island off San Giulio. However, I am having difficulty finding much information about some of the details of life there that would be boring for tourists but pretty important for people actually staying there. If anyone could help me with the following questions, I would appreciate it very much:

1. are there any markets on the island to purchase groceries and, if not, how would we get them there?

2. I am assuming the ferries do not accommodate cars. Is that right? Is there parking at the ferry dock?

3. The pictures of this house feature a charming garden right on the water but one of the beds has a mosquito net decoratively strewn about the bed. I hadn't thought about this until I read some of the posts on this forum. Are mosquitos a problem? They are attracted to me and one of my children like a magnet.

4. Would swimming around the island be a problem with all the visitors coming and going? I read an article in the NYTimes where someone swam to the island without a problem but I don't know if it is a good place to frolic the whole day.

5. Is the island overrun with day trippers? It sounded quiet and peaceful but it seems like everyone who visits goes there and the island is not very big.

6. Would you stay there with your family?

Any insights you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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1. Re: Staying on San Giulio Island

These are my impressions from my stay in Orta San Giulio. Those more familiar with Lake Orta can confirm or add:

1. No. You'd have to carry them, though I imagine many who live or rent in these villas have their own boat for transport.

2. That is correct. You'd have to use the town's municipal parking lot and walk to the ferry area.

3. I recall many mosquitos near the town, so I wouldn't be surprised if they were on the island.

4. Not sure. The boats tend to take a particular path, so if you're swimming close to the shore, I wouldn't imagine a problem. Further out, maybe.

5. Yes, though they keep to a single path through the island. It would get quiet in the evening, but I wouldn't expect any town life to speak of.

6. Not unless they could completely entertain themselves for a week. Some place in Orta San Giulio really would be more appropriate. The town itself is not big and is a relaxing place once you get away from the main square.

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2. Re: Staying on San Giulio Island

To add to the answers above:

3. yes there are likely to be plenty of mosquitoes, june or august doesn't make a difference - but it would be the same anywhere you go.

4. swimming close to shore and away from the tourist boats should be fine

5. yes you will have tourists during the day, but in June the vast majority will be limited to weekend day-trippers and it should be much quieter Monday to Friday. August will be much busier.

6. The island is lovely, but if your kids are teens, they might find it a little quiet and, especially if you don't have your own boat, you won't have many options in the evening.

June is going to be the quieter month, most italians take holidays in August so you there will be a lot more going on in the area as most towns and villages will have festivals around the 15th. The big town at the end of the lake (Omegna) has its annual festival at the end of august with lots of different events and a big fireworks display on the closing day.

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