Franciacorta – quality wine and attentive tourism with a view to sustainable development
Little known on an international level and virtually unknown to the rest of the world, Franciacorta is a hilly area situated between Brescia and the southern shore of Lake Iseo and indeed, it is popular with connoisseurs of Franciacorta wine.
In fact, this area is characterised by a high concentration of wine-making enterprises that have distinguished themselves thanks to the production of “classic method spumante” (or rather, re-fermentation that takes place inside the bottle) of the utmost quality, available in three different versions: white, rosé and satèn.
The most famous wine producers include Ca’ del Bosco, Bellavista, Ferghettina, Contadi Castaldi, Antica Fratta, Bersi Serlini, Barone Pizzini, Berlucchi and La Montina and besides these, there are also many others. The production of red wines (known as from 2008 as “Curtefranca”) is definitely worthy of note; however, for these, there is definitely much less demand and they are under-appreciated when compared to the white wine variety.
In ancient times, the Franciacorta area was dotted with woodlands, while it has been recently transformed by the planting of numerous vineyards. Although this took place halfway through the last century, evidence has been found of grape seeds dating back to Prehistoric times. There is also a wealth of accounts written by classic authors of the calibre of Pliny and Virgil who documented the cultivation of grape vines during the Roman Age.
The transformation process, carried out in the mid-20th century, that led to the widespread dissemination of vineyards and wine cellars closely monitored by local authorities, with the aim of safeguarding the natural landscape as well as the historical and cultural aspects of the Franciacorta area, in fact, is scattered with architectural structures of paramount importance: monasteries, churches, abbeys, villas, medieval castles all of which bear witness to the passing of several cultures through the area over the centuries.
The proximity of Lake Iseo, which once attracted an elite class of tourists and today is becoming increasingly popular both by catering for a wider range of visitors, and on a global scale, thanks to high-visibility events (such as The Floating Piers project featuring works by contemporary artist, Christo, as well as the nomination of Monte Isola to win the title of the European Best Destination 2019), makes this an area that is always on the move.
In addition to this, there is the significant infrastructural development of the region, today linked by means of two important motorways (the A4 and the A35), the railway line, the nearby Orio al Serio airport in Bergamo, as well as its proximity to two cities of key importance, Bergamo and Brescia, which are also undergoing an explosive period of growth and noteworthy expansion.
In this way, the Franciacorta area is carving out its own space on the international tourism scene, certainly not as a mass tourist destination, but which is, at the same time, a non-exclusive location, hosting a wealth of hidden gems, elements of natural beauty, wine and food culture (including many Michelin-starred restaurants) together with itineraries to promote the well-being of both the mind and body (such as golf, cycling, trekking, Nordic walking, etc.…).
The fact that Franciacorta was a niche territory for such a long time, has enabled it to keep the local environment in pristine condition alongside an organic process that has skilfully maintained and enhanced the value of its beauty without adversely affecting it with an intensive form of tourism that often proves to be profitable yet seriously damaging.