La Darbia Hotel: Architectural Gem on Lake Orta

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Project Information

  • Project name: La Darbia
  • Location: Orta San Giulio – Lake Orta – Piedmont
  • Architects and owners: Gian Carlo and Matteo Primatesta of Studio Primatesta (
  • Landscape Architect: Anna Regge
  • Project Sector: Hospitality
  • Project completion date: renovation (all 20 suite-apartments) 2022, extension (restaurant and wine cellar) 2018, construction 2012
  • Photographer: Tobias Kaser

  • 20 suite-apartments

  • heated salt-water pool
  • On site gourmet restaurant “La Cucina” run by chef Matteo Monfrinotti with lake-view terrace
  • cocktail bar amidst the vegetable garden
  • luxury breakfast garden delivered to the suites every morning
  • Sustainability: zero km policy, organic vegetable garden, reuse of original building elements. collaboration with local artisans

In the heart of the picturesque Orta San Giulio, Italy, something extraordinary has quietly emerged – La Darbia Hotel. This exclusive haven is the brainchild of the visionary architect brothers Gian Carlo and Matteo Primatesta, who ventured into uncharted territory by transforming an abandoned rural settlement into a serene holiday escape. What they’ve created is nothing short of a masterpiece, a testament to silent aesthetics and Italian Dolce vita.

The Hidden Gem of Lake Orta

Nestled just an hour north of Milan, Lake Orta stretches for a modest 13 kilometers, and its pristine waters reflect the grandeur of Monte Rosa, the second-highest peak in the Alps. This untouched gem of Northern Italy has largely escaped the tourist hordes that flock to more well-known destinations like Lake Maggiore and Lake Como. Lake Orta, with its lakeside towns frozen in time, maintains the charm that once captivated the likes of Lord Byron, Nietzsche, and Balzac.

La Darbia: Where Luxury Meets Soulful Aesthetics

On the eastern shore of Lake Orta, above the historic center of Orta San Giulio, lies the elegant hamlet of La Darbia. It’s a place where luxury is redefined by the soulful aesthetics and empathetic hospitality that welcome you. With breathtaking views of the lake and the majestic Monte Rosa, La Darbia is a sanctuary for connoisseurs seeking beauty in design and depth in detail.

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The Culinary and Architectural Marvel

Becoming hoteliers was an unexpected turn for the founders of Studioprimatesta, but it’s this fresh perspective that makes “La Darbia” a haven for discerning travelers. The heart of La Darbia, “La Cucina” restaurant, and its idyllic terrace, nestled amidst an organic vegetable garden, have become a closely guarded secret for epicureans worldwide. Chef Matteo Monfrinotti’s cuisine emphasizes the culinary identity of Piedmont, using regional ingredients to create genuine dishes of gourmet quality.

The 20 suite-apartments, as well as the restaurant, embody an understated elegance that doesn’t require extravagant displays. It’s the Italian way of saying “Sobrio” – simple, yet incredibly intriguing. The architecture of La Darbia pays homage to the simplicity of Piemont’s rural buildings, integrating local materials, Mediterranean vegetation, and unadorned handicrafts. This design choice infuses the essence of the region’s cultural history and rural typologies into the very walls of the hotel.

A Symphony of Nature and Architecture

As you enter the 20 apartments, you’ll immediately notice the harmony with nature. They all open onto a lush garden surrounded by vineyards and a heated saltwater pool. The apartments, introverted towards the forest and adorned with ivy, allow your gaze to wander all the way to the lake and the surrounding mountains. It’s a retreat where you can enjoy a yoga session on the sundeck while immersing yourself in the breathtaking views.

With the recent makeover of the property’s elegant suite-apartments and an extension of the wine cellar dedicated to exclusive gourmet gatherings, La Darbia Hotel has celebrated its 10th anniversary in grand style. If you wish to experience the magic of “La Darbia” or savor a meal at “La Cucina,” be sure to book well in advance. It’s no wonder that those who have been enchanted by this intimate oasis guard the secret closely. After all, some treasures are meant to be discovered by only a select few.

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