Milan is for drinking, they say. But the province is no less impressive.
Near the former Mediolanum, in fact, there is an ecosystem where the first Italian sparkling wine Metodo Classico was produced, which obtained the DOCG classification in 1995, with grapes of Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay, which find an ideal climate in these areas thanks to its airy position near Lake Iseo and Val Camonica.
We are talking about Franciacorta, the place where the Brescian Gerolamo Conforti wrote his treatise on bottle fermentation “Libellus de vino mordaci” in 1570, almost a hundred years before the man who would become a bubbly institution in the world, the abbot Dom Perignon.
How much of “France” is there really in the etymon? Two of the most common hypotheses that try to explain the name, see in one Charlemagne, who passed through this territory with the intention of fighting the Longobards, was so impressed by it that he settled there, calling it so because the area of Rodengo Saiano reminded him much of his country that he called it “Little France”.
The second, more practical, would say that this place was a free zone, that is, a territory for which no taxes, tributes or duties were paid, and those who lived here owed nothing to the Empire; in fact, these areas were part of the Curtis francae, which used to be managed by monks on behalf of the clergy.
In this rather large and welcoming area, there is plenty to see; as mentioned, bubbling has become synonymous with the area, but there are also walks, green spaces and small villages to see. Such as, the Torbiere del Sebino Nature Reserve: located in the municipality of Provaglio d’Iseo, declared to be of international interest for being unique in Europe in terms of biodiversity, as it is on the migratory route and boasts a wide variety of rare and endangered species. The reserve consists mainly of pools of water formed at the end of the 18th century because of the extraction of peat, which was used as fuel, and has countless trails and wooden walkways inside. The best time to visit is May and early September, when the ponds are covered with water lilies in full bloom.
Near this reserve there`s the Monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa. This small monastery, which enjoys a beautiful view of the area, has a peculiar history: founded in 1083 on an ancient pagan temple thanks to the industriousness of the Benedictine monks of Cluny, it was enlarged over the centuries until in 1700 it was requisitioned by the Republic of Venice, which put it up for auction by selling it to an aristocratic family in the area. In 1983, the family ceded the monastery to the municipality, which gave its usufruct to the citizens of Provaglio d’Iseo, who, with a real crowfunding operation, started by the townspeople themselves, was able to begin work that lasted 20 years and restored the monastery to its original splendor.
Come to our Milan office and immerse yourself in the beauty of wine tourism, or simply, of a little gem in Lombardy that takes you back in time.