Total of 12 rooms on 3 floors, 200 sqm., unique jewel in the crown of Lake Orta.
Andrew George Barrow
- english, french, italian
About Andrew George Barrow
Born in the Gulf to a British father and Italian mother, I lived my early years as a Bedouin until packed-off to a Jesuit boarding school for breeding in England, spending holidays visiting my old man's latest posting. He covered 21 countries in 30 years for HSBC, then since graduation from King's College London now residing in Milan for over 25 years, working first in outdoor advertising, then design and now as an English consultant for Italian international companies, copy-writing, translating and teaching phonetics. Our villa has been in Italian side of the family since its construction in the 17th century. Villa Monziani is one of the oldest on the island. The villa has been completely refurbished and modernised, respecting its antique character. We care and cherish it and hope our guests will enjoy it and appreciate its uniqueness..
Andrew George Barrow purchased this Villa in 1637
Why Andrew George Barrow chose Orta San Giulio
This has been has been our family home for centuries (once we owned the whole block but half which was once an inn and restaurant was sold to the church) and we were the first on the island to offer our home to guests, originally over 15 ago, through Intervac (house swaps) and more recently through holiday sites. We are very thankful to our guests because they have permitted us to undertake a complete restructuring of the building and refurbishment of the interiors, and we hope it shows. It has taken over 30 years. Once upon a time our ground floor lounge was a hen-coup and kitchen a boat and wood shed. I can still remember when very young living there during summer holidays without electricity and gas, getting water from the local well. Next to our house in the vicolo you can find an old wooden door which was once the stable of the island, holding mainly pigs & goats. My ancestors used to keep a small cow there and would have to row it across by wooden boat to the mainland everyday. The nuns now use it as a deposit room. We are lucky to have many return guests and this makes us proud as after all they become over the years like one of the family. Despite her age, we believe we have the most modern house on the island, the kitchen is brand new, as are all the mattresses (all memory foam) with quality bed slats, pillows, linen and towels. Each year we strive to improve and always listen and act upon our guest's eventual suggestions.
What makes this Villa unique
A unique location, voted one of the most characteristic in Italy. The lake-water has also been voted as the second cleanest in Europe. In general the lake is very calm, especially in the evenings and mornings, ideal for touring the lake with our boat and perhaps taking a picnic with you. In the evenings a silence descends that guarantees a deep sleep, perhaps only interrupted by church bells chiming, but you get used to them immediately.
100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date. 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
Property full of character
Beautiful and peaceful location. We were there in high season and yet no crowds around Lake Orta although enough holiday makers to ensure everything is open. Andrew was a an excellent host and replied very promptly to all our queries before the holiday and during it. Recommended.
Romantic setting surrounded by the Lake and Alps
We stayed at the magnificent villa during the holiday period in December. Andrew, the owner of the villa is a thoughtful and accommodating host who met us with the boat. He kindly gave us a quick tour around the small island to take in the stunning scenery of snow-capped Alps and thick greenery as a light fog enveloped us The property is beautifully restored and the rooms are cosy, especially ours which had a balcony looking onto the shimmering lake . The large living room is inviting with a roaring fireplace, a perfect spot for aperitivo or curling up with a book. On New Year’s Eve the local fireworks display was a delightful surprise and a wonderful way to welcome 2018. The location is very private and exclusive which adds to the romantic ambiance. A cobblestoned path around the monastery on the island is a spiritual and meditative walk with verses every few steps to study. The local produce from the Christmas market ensured that we ate and drank well! We really appreciated Andrew’s kind hospitality as he was always available! We look forward to our next stay in Summer so we can enjoy a swim!
Peaceful holiday haven
Wonderful property, direct lake access, friendly owner, amazing location. not too busy. Probably one of the nicest places on earth!
A very special place!
My cousin and I enjoyed our recent stay at this fantastic villa on a very special island. The history here also makes it interesting. Andrew and his mother have done a great service by restoring this 17th century villa to bring it to modern day standards. It will always be a highlight of our 3 week adventure through northern Italy where our grandparents were born and raised before immigrating to the USA. The peacefulness we found here can not be matched anywhere. The Basilica and the walk of silence around the island as well as the boat rides back and forth to the mainland were special as well. There is a motorized boat available for your use at their villa but we chose to use the shuttles that ran on a regular basis back and forth from Orta. Hope to return someday!
Thank you very much for coming, it was a pleasure to have you both, so glad that you enjoyed the villa and the island and were able to experience the magic of the land of your forebearers, please remember you're welcome back anytime you get "homesick"! ;)
A lovely and tranquil place
Everything was perfect from the moment we arrived through to our departure. A member of the family welcomes you in the town by the place where boats can tie up. Warning - the roads leading to the square where you meet are very narrow and full of tourists but we squeezed through. Once you have unloaded by the boats you can park the cars off in the main car-parking area - one inside and one outside. The boat that comes with the house was a great advantage and with plenty of places to moor when in Orta or visiting any other villages on the lake made it really useful for popping out for an ice cream (Pella -go to the old tower and you'll find it's a café serving lovely ice cream) or supermarket shopping (Pettenasco where there is a Conad about 10 minutes walk from a good mooring). The house is lovely and the family will explain everything and take you round. then you can relax with some lovely wine, cheese and meats that are prepared for your welcome. Lots of space and very well equipped and well stocked (food items, books, swimming flippers etc). There was everything we needed and it was spotlessly clean and well maintained. The garden was a very restful place with a shady place to eat (only really space for 6 at the table) and lots of sun or shade as needed. While we were there, the relatives who have the independent apartment at the top of the house were there but they kept themselves to themselves. Just don't be surprised when you meet a complete stranger on the stairs or they appear in the garden. We didn't plan to do much on this holiday so we don't have much to recommend. We enjoyed shopping, cooking, reading and swimming. We will very much look forward to staying in the house again in the future.
Thank you very much, it was a great pleasure to have you and thanks for the useful "what to do tips". We're implementing sporting accessories like a kayak and a stand-on surfboard with paddle so guests if they so desire can take further advantage of the lake apart from the use of our private boat.
A haven at the lago
The villa at the tiny isola san giulio was everything we hoped for and more! The house itself was wonderfully cool in the summer heat, and so much bigger and nicer than it looks on the photos. The garden is small, but very convenient. 8 people had plenty of room to find their preferred place in the sun or shade, and being almost in the lake, the air had a wonderful freshness. We could have wished for a slightly larger boat to accomodate all 8, but apart from that everything was just perfect. We would definitely recommend this property.
A great pleasure to have your family and very glad you enjoyed yourselves. Our small boat is a necessity to guarantee total flexibility, as it can be pulled up easily, especially at Orta if you go away for the day. This would be more difficult to do with a larger boat, that can however be hired at Pella if one so desires.
Special interest holidays:
There is a market in Orta every Wednesday. An English poetry festival takes place in Orta in September and a festival of classical music in June and September on the island at Villa Tallone. Fireworks in August are famous in Omegna, at the northern end of the lake.
The lake is 14km long and 2.5km wide. In general the lake is calm, with a light evening breeze. A sandy beach with amenities can be found at the southern end of the lake at Gozzano, and there are several other beaches as well as picnic areas dotted around the lake shore. The lake can easily be explored with our boat, might we suggest you organise a picnic. Otherwise a large boat does the tour of the lake stopping at small villages, an ideal way of spending the day.
Malpensa is the closest airport to Orta (46km, 50m drive on the A26 motorway, exit at Arona then take state road SP229). One can hire a car at Malpensa or take a taxi to Orta. We supply a garage in Orta. The road network in the area is good. One can also arrive by train, Orta has a train station at Orta Miasino which distances 1km and by bus via Borgomanero, Omegna and Arona. The bus also goes to Stresa on Lake Maggiore. There are taxi drivers in Orta.
Milan is 85km, a 90m drive, Turin, with its famous Egyptian museum, 127 km, 1.5 hours, Genoa (Ligurian coastline) 195km, 2.5 hours, Chamonix (France) is 220km, 2.5 hours. One needs a car if one wants to visit the surrounding area like the other lakes or further. You can quickly travel over the hills to Arona on Lake Maggiore, follow its shore to Stresa, visit the 3 enchanting Borromeo islands in a day. There are other lakes: Lugano, Varese, Mergozzo and in particular Como, 92km, a 75m drive.
There are no shops on the island, just a restaurant/bar and a souvenir shop, but Orta offers a large variety of food shops, restaurants of all levels, pizzerias, wine tasting bars and various fashion shops. There are two banks, a post office and internet points. Mobile phone reception on the island is good. There is a grocery store in the main square where you can order food for next day delivery if they don't already stock it. For large supermarket facilities one has to drive 15 minutes to Gozzano (southern end of lake, 8.5km away).