Who better than a Franciacorta blogger can tell you what to see in Franciacorta and how to choose where to spend a few hours of carefree, why not, drinking a good wine.
Where to sleep in Franciacorta
One of the aspects that I love most about living in Franciacorta is waking up and finding myself surrounded by greenery, surrounded by vineyards. My advice for sleeping in Franciacorta is to find a solution here-> CLICK HERE to discover the hotels in the area .
History of Franciacorta
Before setting out to discover the things to do in Franciacorta, it is best to give an explanation of the name... as long as it succeeds! In fact, while looking for information, it is not possible to find a unique version that explains the name “Franciacorta”.
The name Franciacorta appeared for the first time in 1227 in an ordinance of the statutes of Brescia. One might mistakenly think that it comes from France, in reality it has very little to do with it.
Many versions come together under the concept of "paying taxes". It seems to derive from the Latin words "francae"And"curtis“, Or freedom and monastery. In practice it would be linked to the monastic courts such as Rodengo, Provaglio and Rovato that they seem to have been at that time free from the payment of tithing. Another version claims that the name "francae curtis" referred to the fact that the goods passing through Brescia were exempt from duties, in exchange for the maintenance of the Brescia - Iseo road.
Finally, there is a more popular version whose key to understanding is the dialect. Being “a curt de franc”, in the Brescia dialect means “being short of money”. This nickname was used to indicate a poor region.
In short, as often happens, finding a single version is unlikely. Sometimes, it is better to preserve the mystery ...
The birth of Franciacorta wines
Franciacorta begins only in the 60s, to be precise in 1961, to become known as an area where wine is produced. Thanks to Berlucchi who begins its production in the Borgonato area. From that moment on, Franciacorta changed appearance and from woodland slowly it turns into hills planted with vines. In 1967 the Franciacorta wine acquired the DOC designation, in 1990 the consortium was established and in 1995 it became DOCG. In that year it also became the first Italian wine produced exclusively with refermentation in the bottle, an essential feature of a bottle of Franciacorta.
The history of Franciacorta wine continues, laying the foundations year after year to achieve current success. Thanks to DOCG, now the simple word Franciacorta allows to associate three key aspects: Territory, production method and obviously wine.
The Franciacorta territory is not only synonymous with Franciacorta. Curtefranca wines (dry whites) and red wines are also produced, although the latter have not been marketed as extensively.
What to see in Franciacorta?
4 different types of terrain, 6 landscaped areas with as many pedo-climatic zones, Franciacorta is a relatively small territory, but which really reserves many surprises and activities to do.
With this article I want to list a series of things to do and see in Franciacorta, so that you can organize a weekend linked to good wine or active tourism. If you want to spend more time in the Brescia area, I suggest you to -> discover Lake Iseo or -> visit the beautiful Brescia in one day.
1 - Visit a wine cellar
How not to start an itinerary in Franciacorta if not visiting one of the many wineries e tasting a good glass of bubbles.
The morainic hills that characterize this area are full of vineyards. In the winter season the vines are completely bare and are nothing more than a small log that comes out of the ground. In the summer everything turns a deep green until about mid-August, when the leaves begin to turn yellow. This moment marks thebeginning of the grape harvest since for Franciacorta it is necessary to harvest the grapes very early. In September the majority of the vineyards are bare and the landscape begins to tend towards the classic autumn colors.
More than 100 wineries coexist within the Franciacorta area, some very famous and on the market for some time such as Ca 'del Bosco, Berlucchi, Villa, etc, others smaller but equally qualitative, such as for example Derbusco Cives (click and discover the offer for the visit to the cellar).
The tour inside a wine cellar
In addition to the dedication to the classic method and the passion for wine, almost all of them offer the opportunity to visit the cellar and finish with a tasting. Although a visit to the winery can be considered similar to another, in the case of Franciacorta each winery has its own peculiarities and their beliefs about wine. Just think of the “remuage”… try asking in the cellar what their theory of this bottle rotation technique is.
The visits to a Franciacorta winery vary in duration depending on the size of the cellar and the amount of wines you will taste. Indicatively the price is around € 25 per person.
If you want to discover the list of wineries with timetables and tastings ->
If you are interested in reading an in-depth study on the production of Franciacorta wine I leave you the link to one of my articles: Franciacorta: visit to the organic wine cellar of Barone Pizzini
2 - Participate in the Franciacorta Festival
I just talked about wineries, how not to mention the best time to take a winery tour. If your aim is to taste the wines of Franciacorta, stay free for the mid-September for the weekend linked to the festival. Many wineries “open their doors” offering guided tours, or events, which are the perfect opportunity to combine wine, cellars and vineyards. Mark this period on your agenda.
3 - Trekking in the vineyards or horseback riding
Let's stay on the subject of vineyards. Franciacorta is full of paths surrounded by greenery of the hills. Myself, I often go out of the house and "get lost" among the rows; I enjoy the tranquility of the countryside. If too active tourism is not for you, deciding to live a few days of this type of relaxation is a perfect choice. And if you like the idea of having a picnic, know that in spring several wineries organize some picnic in the vineyards.
If even the picnic does not drive you crazy, you will not be able to back down from a horse ride thanks to the numerous riding schools in the area.
4 - Cycle tourism in the Franciacorta hills
Ok, here we move on to something more active: mountain biking.
Why not walk all these paths with an extra pinch of adrenaline?
There are 5 routes which, due to their “territorial deformation”, take the name of the various Franciacorta wines: Satèn, Pas Dosé, Brut, Rosé, Extra Brut.
On the official website -> HERE -> find all 5 mountain bike, trekking and Nordic walking routes.
If you like being outdoors, you will be spoiled for choice!
5 - The Sebino peat bogs: bird watching and nature photography
In the extreme north of Franciacorta, a few tens of meters from Lake Iseo (discover: what to see on Lake Iseo) is this protected area. A nature reserve where you can walk in the open and, if you are passionate, do bird-watching or nature photography. The Sebino peat bogs are a marshy area that was formed due to the retreat of the waters of Lake Iseo up to the current borders.
This place was very important in the past. Peat was extracted from the marshy waters, a material used instead of coal to power the trains of the Brescia -> Edolo railway line.
If you love nature and naturalist photography, the Sebino peat bogs are a place not to be missed. For the sake of completeness, I inform you that, although there are no turnstiles or controllers, the cost of entry to the peat bogs is 1 euro and you can find the automatic machine at each entry point to the reserve.
Inside the peat bogs, you can follow different paths -> Here you find the paths of the peat bogs.
6 - Visit the Monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa
Near the entrance to the Torbiere on the Provaglio d'Iseo side there is the Monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa.
The monastery stands on a small rocky rise that allows a view of all the peat bogs; “Lamosa” is due to the marshy nature of the Sebino peat bogs. San Pietro is considered to be the oldest of the Cluniac foundations in the whole of Lake Iseo.
If you want to learn more about the history of the monastery of San Pietro, you can read an excellent study on the official website of Visit Lake Iseo.
7 - Abbey of San Nicola in Rodengo Saiano
Point 7 of this article on what to see in Franciacorta is still linked to the cultural aspects. This time we are in the territory of Rodengo Saiano, not far from Brescia. Here you can discover the Olivetan Abbey of San Nicola, a very great one religious complex founded by the Cluniac monks. It dates back to the beginning of 1100 AD. Inside: a church, 3 cloisters, a museum, a library and even a dormitory with 25 beds.
Before making a visit, it is good to call the number you find on -> official website of the abbey
8 - Quistini Castle, the Franciacorta of castles
Quistini Castle is one of many castles present in Franciacorta. In spring it opens its doors to visitors to admire its splendid gardens full of flowers and plants of all kinds. There are over 1500 varieties present. A spectacular green lung a few meters from the center of one of the most populated villages in Franciacorta: Rovato.
It will be a place that will amaze you. Obviously the best time is spring. TO This Page you will find all the information for guided tours, opening hours and prices.
9 - Discover the flavors of Franciacorta
So far I have talked to you about wines and culture, leaving out the important culinary aspects. If there is one place in Franciacorta that you absolutely must discover, this is Norcineria Polastri Maceler.
I got to know them on a tour several years ago and since then I have to be careful not to walk past their shop, otherwise the desire to enter is unstoppable and discover new cured meats / cheeses.
In addition to the "classic Franciacorta" they have local products that you will hardly find elsewhere. It is the ideal place to buy some gastronomic souvenirs to take home and, why not, to give to friends and relatives.
10 - Shopping at the franciacorta outlet
I have to tell you about it. I'm not a lover of shopping, but I'm sure some of you will be interested in point 10 of this article. Who among you is not interested, go straight to the point *.
Recently renovated and expanded, the Franciacorta outlet is a very popular place on weekends. Many tourists, including foreigners, are attracted by the discounts that can be found in this open-air mall. If shopping is your friend, then the outlet is for you.
If anything, I'll wait for you in the vineyards!
* Are you visiting Franciacorta? You may also be interested in:
- What to see in Brescia, my city!
- Brescia Castle and the lioness of Italy: great pride!