The Dragon Island of Orta Lake

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The Legend of the Dragon Defeated by Saint Julius

Have you ever heard of Dragon Island in Lake Orta? No? Then you must know that the island of San Giulio, before becoming the favorite destination for lake tourists and the setting for the romantic Borgo Ventoso in the film ” Correspondence,” was famous for the legend of the dragon defeated by Saint Julius.

Dragon Island of Lake Orta: Legend or Truth?

The story goes back to the time of Emperor Theodosius, in the second half of the 4th century when two religious brothers from the island of Aegina traveled through Italy with the mission of spreading Christianity and converting pagan populations. Their names were Julius and Julian, who, with the Emperor’s approval, set out to evangelize pagan populations and build one hundred churches.

The journey was long, and they faced many challenges with pagan populations. However, their strong faith drove them to continue their mission, leading them to the shores of Lake Orta.

Observing the lake, Julius was convinced to build the hundredth church on that unique island, but the locals advised against it. They claimed that the rocky outcrop was the Dragon Island of Lake Orta, inhabited by terrible reptiles and, above all, a fierce dragon. No boatman dared to accompany the two missionaries to that cursed place. At that point, Julius, on the lake’s shores, prayed to the Lord, who miraculously made his cloak solid and waterproof, allowing him to cross the waters. Upon reaching the island, the missionary easily defeated the reptiles and the fearsome dragon, driving them away forever, all witnessed by astonished farmers and boatmen watching from the lake’s shores.

After these miracles, the villagers rushed to the island to implore Julius to convert them and help him build the last church of his mission. The island was named after the saint, and inside the church, his body was placed in eternal memory of the episode.

Dragon Island of Lake Orta: The Dragon’s Vertebra

Do you think this is just another conversion legend like many others? Perhaps you would change your mind if you heard Sister Maria Raphaela, the only nun in the convent on the island with contact with the outside world. She takes care of the guesthouse and welcomes visitors to the Basilica, passionately narrating the legend. Moreover, for those still skeptical, she shows the incredible material proof that the legend is true: a dragon’s vertebra! The relic hangs above, right over a metal model of the monster.

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Model of a Dragon in the Sacristy of the Basilica of San Giulio

Some say this large bone belonged to a lake dinosaur or a whale, but doubt lingers…

So, the only option left is to verify for yourself if the Dragon Island of Lake Orta is just a legend!


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Article Name
The Dragon Island of Orta Lake
Discover Dragon Island of Orta Lake, once famous for the legend of a dragon defeated by Saint Julius. A romantic haven for tourists!
Publisher Name
La Scimmia Viaggiatrice

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