The Franciacorta: sparkling wine, villas and castles, abbeys and monasteries

The Franciacorta, whose splendid landscape of rolling moraine hills covered with vineyards is stretching to the south of Lake Iseo, is known by this suggestive name since the Middle Ages.

According to a widespread belief, this name means “little France” and refers to the characteristics of the climate and the landscape very similar to that of France, and which make the area particularly well suited to the cultivation of the kind of grapes suitable for making method champenoise sparkling wine, which in fact has gave rise to the production of the famous sparkling wine of Franciacorta, the so-called “bollicine”. In reality, this name refers instead to the fact that in the Middle Ages, many villages were ” curtes francae “, or free, that is exempt from paying taxes.

Villages, castles and stately homes still dot the landscape of this area internationally known precisely, as mentioned above, for the wine production of excellence: in addition to sparkling Franciacorta DOCG, also includes red and white wines of excellent quality.

Among the many itineraries, you can visit the cellars and see up close the methods of wine production, and enjoy wine and oil tastings. At the ancient agricultural tradition of the place is dedicated the agricultural Museum Ricci Curbastro of Capriolo, created by the owners of the namesake winery, where you can combine ​​ the visit to the winery with wine tasting and visit to the museum.

For the pleasantness of the area and its mild climate, Franciacorta has for centuries been a resort of the aristocracy of Brescia. In memory of that period are numerous holidays villas, including for example the villa Lechi of Erbusco and the famous mansion Palazzo Torri of Nigoline Cortefranca that hosted in the late nineteenth century, under the auspices of the Countess Paolina Towers Calegari, a cultural gathering frequented by writers, poets, and personalities of the time, including Zanardelli, Carducci, Pascoli and Fogazzaro.

During the Middle Ages were founded monasteries and abbeys that contain real treasures, such as the Abbey Olivetana Rodengo Saiano, and the Abbey of San Pietro in Lamosa that is overlooking the Nature Reserve of the Torbiere of the Lake, which swamps called “Lame” are home to a unique fauna and flora.

Another important witness to the troubled medieval period are also castles, among which it is worth noting Bornato Castle, which, extremely rare, inside the walls contains the Renaissance Orlando Villa, and Castle of Passirano.

There are also numerous churches, including the Shrine of S. Maria della neve (Our Lady of the Snow) in Adro, ancient place of devotion, Santa Maria in Favento, Santa Maria of Erbusco, the Church Santissma of Gussago.

As in Vallecamonica, even in Franciacorta there are interesting examples of old forges, and in particular ancient Averoldi Hammer of Ome, documented since 1080, which is still operated and open for tours.

For shopping lovers, is a worth stop to the Franciacorta Outlet in Rodengo Saiano, which is center of discounted designer shopping, where you can find garments of the best italian brands at prices reduced by up to 70%