Land of great wines and ancient wine culture, the province of Brescia is covered with vineyards, from the Garda hills to those of Franciacorta, from the plain to the steep slopes of the Camonica Valley.
And Brescia - real curiosity - contains the largest city vineyard in Europe . The end of summer and the beginning of autumn are the sweetest periods for discovering these extraordinary wine tourism territories that have made hospitality a must, all to be discovered and savored by following the Wine Routes that wind through it and the paths traced between vineyards and cellars.
Franciacorta , since time immemorial devoted to viticulture, is the land of the precious Franciacorta (the most prized of the Italian wines refermented in the bottle with the Classic Method), to which it gives its name. Overlooking the shores of Lake Iseo, it is among the Italian destinations most loved by wine tourists. Hills covered with vineyards, ancient villages and castles, abbeys and patrician villas, paths for walking and biking, charming hotels and cozy farmhouses, refined restaurants and rustic trattorias: a territory where hospitality is an art, to be discovered by following the road of Franciacorta , which winds for 90 km from Brescia to Lake Iseo. A stop in the cellars is a must, they welcome wine tourists for visits and tastings. What to visit, then, among the many small and large treasures of art and history that mark its territory? Here are some ideas. The Olivetan abbey of San Nicola in Rodengo Saiano, decorated with works by the major artists of the Bresciana School of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Foppa, Romanino, Moretto, Gambara). The Cluniac monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa in Provaglio d'Iseo, a Romanesque jewel, from whose churchyard you have an exceptional view of the Torbiere del Sebino , a unique naturalistic oasis of its kind in Europe: approximately 3.5 sq km . of water, reeds and marsh vegetation. The picturesque old village of Erbusco , with the ruins of the castle, the Romanesque parish church of Santa Maria Assunta and the sixteenth-century Villa Lechi, the most scenic in Franciacorta. The fifteenth-century Convent of the Annunciata on Monte Orfano in Rovato - an oasis of peace that preserves masterpieces of art - from which you can enjoy a splendid panorama of the Franciacorta hills and the plain. Capriolo , a perched village of medieval origin, and Paratico with the ruins of the Lantieri Castle, where according to tradition Dante was a guest. One more reason to visit it is the Franciacorta Festival in the Cellar , which will animate it in the weekend of 12-13 and 19-20 September.
Road of wines and flavors of Garda
- on the shores of Lake Iseo to those of Lake Garda, where the Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori del Garda winds its way. The landscape changes, it becomes more Mediterranean. The vineyards intertwine with the olive groves, from which comes a very precious extra virgin olive oil DOP, characterized by a very low degree of acidity, which makes it very digestible. Between the hills of the hinterland and the coasts of the Brescia side of the lake, from Sirmione to Limone sul Garda , the road embraces the production areas of three important and well-known wines with controlled designation of origin: Lugana, Garda Classico and San Martino della Battle . Its path touches corners of extraordinary scenic beauty, historical and cultural sites, enchanting villages, sunny beaches that are reflected in the clear and deep waters of the lake. There are about 100 associates among wineries, hotels, farmhouses, restaurants, oil mills, producers, museums and institutions, which best represent a territory to be discovered through 5 car itineraries (which wind through Valtensi, among the moraine hills of the southern shore of the lake , in the stretch from Sirmione to Salò, in the Upper Garda Park) and 1 cycling itinerary focused on food, wine, hospitality and culture. To respond adequately to the needs of tourists, the Road also formulates different types of customizable itineraries, with possibilities ranging from a daily tour with a visit to the cellars, oil mills, nursery greenhouses, to the multi-day tour that combines art with tasting and nature to gastronomy.
Colli dei Longobardi wine route
Between the city of Brescia, the last offshoots of the Brescian Prealps and the plain that extends to the south-east, the Colli dei Longobardi Wine Route is an unusual food and wine itinerary following the traces of history that insinuates itself into an area traditionally dedicated to production wine. From the urban vineyard of Pusterla (with its 3.4 hectares, the largest city vineyard in Europe) that climbs up to the Castle and from which the wines for the Desian nuns of the monastery of Santa Giulia came, the path moves in plain towards Azzano Mella , court donated by Charlemagne to the monastery of San Salvatore in Brescia, of Lombard foundation. Going along it, you will dive into the history of centers such as Botticino, Castenedolo, Montichiari, Montirone, Capriano del Colle, Poncarale and Flero. Along the road, in addition to the cellars, small producers of agri-food excellence, excellent trattorias and restaurants where you can taste the most authentic Brescia cuisine, collections to visit, such as the Floral Museum of Montirone , the Marble Museum of Botticino , the wonderful Museums of the Fashion and Costume and Wine and Corkscrew of Villa Mazzucchelli in Ciliverghe di Mazzano.
The vineyards of the Camonica Valley
In the Province of Brescia the vine is also grown in the mountains, on the slopes of the Camonica Valley , whose wines have been recognized since 2003 as a Typical Geographical Indication. In recent years there has been a recovery of viticulture in this area, where it had been partially abandoned, the extirpation of the vineyards has completely stopped and there are more and more cases of winemakers who plant new vineyards. The result is that, in addition to the undoubted benefits in the prevention of hydrogeological instability, the landscape of the middle and lower Valle Camonica is slowly and pleasantly changing, and at the same time the authentic values of wine have been recovered: work, territory, originality, biodiversity and tradition, of which the mountain vineyards are one of the highest and noblest expressions, becoming extraordinary monuments to the work of man. The cellars, open to visitors, are mainly located from the cone cones at the foot of the Concarena to the terraces of the middle Valley, up to the villages of Gianico and Artogne. To find out more, the "Tra vigne e Vini" route (to do by car, on foot or by bike) is pleasant and winds through the vineyards and cellars of the Concarena fan and focuses the spotlight on its splendid landscapes. the House museum of Cerveno and concerns the cellars Rocche dei Vignali, Monchieri, Concarena, Flonno and Cascina Casola. Five information boards illustrate the history of viticulture in Valle Camonica and also offer numerous ideas to give the trip a wider breath, diverting towards the rock engravings of Capo di Ponte, the Calchere of Ono San Pietro, the historic center of Cerveno or the parish church old of San Maurizio in Losine.
Experiences between vineyards and cellars
To dive into these chiseled landscapes of vineyards and discover flavors and knowledge related to viticulture and the fascinating world of wine, Visit Brescia offers a range of pleasant - and often unusual - experiences. You can find them on the website www.visitbrescia.it, in the TASTE and MAKE sections, where you can find all the info to book them. In Franciacorta , for example, wine is combined with art in visits to the cellar where barrels and bottles on pupitres alternate with paintings and sculptures, or to poetry in fascinating paths between vineyards and cellar. In the Garda area, you can do sensory tastings to the rhythm of music, go trekking in the vineyard accompanied by a sommelier, take part in Food & Wine tour in Valtenesi and cookery courses with a corollary of pairings with wines, or even enjoy sunset among the vineyards sip a delicious glass of wine during romantic Sunset tours, which end with outdoor barbecues. In the Colli dei Longobardi area , cycling through the vineyards ends with a tasting, and a visit to organic vineyards has its corollary in the personalization of the label of the wine tasted, to take home as a souvenir of the pleasant day. In Valle Camonica , you discover the great character of wines from daring terraced vineyards, which you learn to taste in the most suitable glass and which cover the tasty combinations with cheeses and mountain salami.