The most stunning region of Italy is mostly undiscovered. Sure, we all know about the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, and Lake Como, but equally as beautiful and sans the crowds is Franciacorta. Located on the shores of Lake Iseo, the area is best known for its incredible wine. And it's just an hour from Milan, so it's ideal for a long weekend.
Why Visit Franciacorta?
Due to the smaller size of the region and lack of major tourist sites, Franciacorta offers fewer crowds, but certainly doesn't lack in Italian charm. The rolling hills are dotted with vineyards; the Oglio River, Lake Iseo, and the Rhaetian alps make for the ideal winemaking climate. But there's certainly more to the area than wine tasting. Franciacorta has museums, parks, gardens, and historical sites – plus incredible dining. And don't miss taking a boat ride (even better with a glass of sparkling).
Where to Stay in Franciacorta
Perched above Lake Iseo is Relais Mirabella, a charming property with 29 rooms, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a restaurant that overlooks the lake. In addition, some of the wineries have small hotels where guests can stay within the vineyards, meeting the families who make the wine, which makes for a local and truly unique experience. A couple of favorites include Le Quattro Terre with its modern and romantic rooms and Lantieri with terraces that overlook the vineyards.
How to Visit Wineries in Franciacorta
Franciacorta is made up of both boutique and larger format wineries that produce excellent sparkling wines in the metodo classico (a more affordable alternative to French Champagne). Tourists can visit the wineries in Franciacorta by first checking out the Consorzio's map, which has information on the wineries that feature tasting rooms. Guido Berlucchi is Franciacorta’s largest winery and happens to be the birthplace of the region's sparkling wine. Majolini is small in size but produces an incredible Brut Satèn (made exclusively with Chardonnay grapes). And Le Cantorie makes incredible reds with the best views in the region. For something extra special, grab a bike and make your way to wineries on two wheels.
Where to Buy Franciacorta Wine
If you can't book a trip to this undiscovered region, simply go to Wine.com; they have several Franciacorta varietals that ship across the U.S.