One of the ideal destinations for relaxing holidays in the heart of Lombardy is an hill area, renowned for wine productions and precious sparkling wines, Franciacorta, where the colors of landscape, the elegance of the ancient dwellings and the charm of Lake Iseo strike visitors imagination.
This brief guide to recommend what is worth visiting an what contributes to the uniqueness of Franciacorta.
Visit abbeys and medieval towns in Franciacorta
First of all, the origin of the name derives from the Latin “curtes francae” and refers to the communities of Benedictine monks which were based here in Middle Age, when they were dispensed with the payment of duties for the transport of their goods in others States, because the monks worked in land reclamation and taught the cultivation techniques to farmers.
Franciacorta stands for great tradition and high quality enogastronomical products. The area extends it from Brescia to the southeast area of Lake Iseo, it was full of woods, then enriched by vineyards planted since Middle Age. The first stage of our route is a way to approach this slice of Heaven, because between the hills rise abbeys and cloisters.
In Rodengo Saiano there is a monumetal church, the Abbey of San Nicola, recently restored and open to the public. The Abbey includes a late XVI century cloister, a large gallery with artworks from XVI e XVII and a book restoration laboratory. Contact the Olivetan Benedictine monks for visits at the phone number 030/610182.
If we think about history, we cannot forgive castles. In Franciacorta there are many towers that had defensive purpose and some watchtowers date from before the Middle Age: among the most interesting venues we suggest the Castello Quistini in Rovato, also known as Palazzo Porcellaga and conceived as a country villa, has a beautiful rose garden and some refined halls as the Sala Grottesca and Salone, an example of pure style.
Nordic walking and country excursions
For an holiday more exciting, you can choose one of the routes that cross Franciacorta, among rose of vineyards and farmhouses, by walking or by bike, in fact are available a lot of itineraries, with rest stops and panoramic views to enjoy at sunset.
One of the best natural areas of the region is Torbiere del Sebino (the Peat-Moors of Sebino), a unique location as a consequence of the extraction of peat, with pits where marsh plants and birds have found their natural habitat. Is one of the few places where to admire the blue heron, the cormorant and the red heron, rare species as the characteristics of Franciacorta.
Guided tours to top historical wine cellars
The best period of viticulture for this land was during the Sixties, when Franciacorta became a landmark for sparkling wine, at the same level of French Champagne. One of the most exclusive activities is to join a guided tour with tasting, booking your favorite wine cellar from this list: www.franciacorta.net
On the weekends the cellars are open to the public and there are also distilleries, where to taste and buy the grappa Franciacorta DOC, one of the finest in Italy.
Discover the Lake Iseo by boat
The Lake Iseo is the sixth largest lake in Italy and the greatest island of Europe is located in the middle of the lake, Monte Isola, an additional reason to explore the land by cruise during your stay in Franciacorta.
You can choose a tour of the three islands, features the Loreto island, where rises a castle in Neogothic style with a garden of conifers, the San Paolo Island, where there is a cloister dated back to XV century, and Monte Isola, where there are indications of a Roman settlement and now there are sanctuaries like the shrine of Madonna della Ceriola, on the highest spot of the island.
Besides the greenery Monte Isola is renowned for gastronomy based on fish, traditionally dried at the sun, in fact the lake sardines are one of the local specialties. To plan your excursions, find your favorite route and know more about this exclusive area, book a charming hotel in Lombardy well-equipped with all the comforts.
The long tradition of Wrought iron handicraft
Since XVII century the local craftsmen worked the iron doing each item as a unique artwork: balconies, gratings, gates, coat of arms and emblems that now adorn the villas in Franciacorta. To discover the secrets of this tradition and see its evolution over centuries visit the Borgo Del Maglio, in Ome, a forge-museum where to see the techniques of working iron, a trade which keeps unaltered its charm.
The Franciacorta has many faces and is a destination which expecially attracts the travelers that are looking for nice landscapes and first rate class products, a pearl for luxury tourism.