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|Population||158 249 |
|Population density||573,40 ab./km²|
The territory of Franciacorta, from Latin "franchae curtes", which means "exempted from paying duties", is a section of the Province of Brescia in the Italian Region of Lombardy. Franciacorta extends from Mount Orphan in the southwest area to the shores of Lake Iseo in the north, and from the river Oglio in the western border to the city of Brescia in the eastern one. The physical conformation characterised by rolling hills was shaped by glacial action.
The area has been inhabited since Palaeolithic times with archaeological records left by Gauls— the Cenomani of Brixia (modern Brescia), Romans and Lombards. The name Franciacorta, attested in 1277, is thought to derive from curtes francae, the fortified courts of the Frankish empire established in the 8th century.
The most respected wine producers of Franciacorta's sparkling and still wines are: Berlucchi, Bellavista and Ca' del Bosco. Others include Mosnel, Muratori, Lantieri, Majolini, Ferghettina and Cavalleri.
The soil, composed of glacial moraines consisting of gravel and sand over limestone, is ideal for the cultivation of grapes and winemaking. The weather is mild and constant due to its location in the southern foothills of the Alps and the tempering presence of large lakes.
The Franciacorta territory extends on the surface of the following municipalities all located in the province of Brescia: Adro, Capriolo, Castegnato, Cazzago San Martino, Cellatica, Coccaglio, Cologne, Corte Franca, Erbusco, Gussago, Iseo, Monticelli Brusati, Ome, Paderno Franciacorta, Paratico, Passirano, Provaglio d'Iseo, Rodengo-Saiano and Rovato. The area, mostly hilly and once strewn with woods, has recently been transformed by the planting of many vineyards. The local authorities are committed to safeguarding the landscape and to conserve it both from the physical side and from the historical and cultural points of view. In fact, there are numerous architectural ancient testimonies such as: monasteries, churches, abbeys, villas and castles of the Middle Ages. Rodengo is home to a Cluniac foundation, the Abbey of St. Nicholas, which has been inhabited by Olivetan monks since 1446. Other places of interest are the castle of Passirano and the Romanesque church of Provaglio d'Iseo.
At the southern border of Franciacorta is located the Mount Orphan which reaches 451m of maximum altitude.
The vineyards of Franciacorta were planted in ancient times, as witnessed by the grape seeds from prehistoric times and the archaeological material found throughout the territory. There are also other testimonies of classical authors such as Plinio and Columella a Virgilio. Through historiographical evidences it is possible to trace the passage of different peoples: the Cenomani Gauls, the Romans and the Lombards. The most abundant material is the Roman one and consists mainly of commemorative funeral inscriptions and military stones. Also some places' names and localities' names, such as Cazzago and Gussago, come from Roman courtesy.
The most valuable archaeological resource is the temple architrave (from Erbusco) that was brought to Brescia and then walled in the facade of the palace of Monte di Pietà della Loggia.
Despite boasting a long history, the new course of viticulture of Franciacorta began in all respects at the beginning of the Sixties with the birth of the first wineries. At the end of the Seventies, Italian enology experienced a period of great ferment and in Franciacorta several entrepreneurs invested and focused on the cultivation of vineyards. In fact, even today many wineries that produce Franciacorta have been founded by entrepreneurs from Brescia and province. Afterwards the growth has been very fast until today's Franciacorta fame, a national reference for the wine's production with the classic method.
The production and marketing of bubbles has become increasingly important in the last twenty years, so as to boast the DOCG brand and be known in the wine world for the high quality achieved. The name "Franciacorta" has over time become synonymous with the same DOCG sparkling wine produced in the many vineyards of the area.
Since July 2008, with the publication of the new specification, the name of the DOC "Terre di Franciacorta", used for red and white still wines, has been replaced with Curtefranca.
Today the area is just over two thousand hectares, its increase, which was considerable in the first decade of the 2000s, has now slowed sharply partly because of the global crisis. In fact, no further major growth developments are expected in the coming years. The slowdown is also due to some choices of the consortium Franciacorta aimed at not creating an excess of supply in order to safeguard the producers currently present on the territory.
In 1995 Franciacorta was assigned the first refermented in Italian bottle with the denomination DOCG. This is obtained from Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Blanc grapes and is produced in three types: Franciacorta, Franciacorta Satèn and Franciacorta Rosé. In addition to these, Millesimato and Riserva, which require longer aging, are also produced. Franciacorta has also two other DOC denominations: a white wine and a red wine.
The wine cellars are over one hundred and some are located in buildings of artistic and architectural interest. They are open to the public, so the visitor can learn about the methods of wine production, participate in tastings and buy the product.
- sum of the inhabitants of the municipalities of Franciacorta (ISTAT Data) http://demo.istat.it/bilmens2020gen/index.html
- Archetti, Gabriele (2019). Le Origini della Franciacorta nel Rinascimento italiano. Milano-Brescia: EPTA EDITIONS. ISBN 9788831425001.
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