Franciacorta 2017-03-20T18:34:55+00:00

Situated in the heart of the gently-rolling hills around Brescia, the district extends as far as Lake Iseo to the north, the rocky moraine hills between Ome and Cellatica on the eastern side, Mount Orfano in the south and the river Oglio on the western side.


The origin of the toponym is not clear and various explanations have been proposed. The most likely theory is based on the origin of the Latin phrase curtes francae (villages that are ‘exempt’); many medieval towns and villages were under the protection of Benedictine monks and had become exempt from imperial taxes and duties imposed elsewhere.

However, hypotheses concerning the meaning of the name include the idea it may derive from Charlemagne’s having referred to the area as a ‘little France’, while others suggest it may be linked to the exclamation ‘Out with the French!’ (‘Qui Francia sarà corta!’) heard during an uprising following the occupation of Charles d’Anjou. Some philologists even believe the name may derive from an expression in the local dialect referring to the poor living conditions of local people (‘a curt de franc’, i.e. ‘short of cash’).


The presence of the magnificent local grapes in fact dates back to prehistoric times, as proven by the discovery in this area of very old grape seeds.

The earliest references to local winegrowing activities in the Roman period are found in the works of several classical authors, such as Pliny, Columella and Virgil.

The Libellus de’ Vini Mordaci (1570) by Gerolamo Conforti, a physician from Brescia, is one of the earliest publications ever written on the subject of the technique used to produce wines with a natural fermentation in bottles and certain therapeutic effects they may have on the human body.

The studies of this physician preceded the innovative ideas and intuition of the abbot Dom Perignon and emphasized the remarkable popularity and common use at that time of lively, fizzy ‘vini mordaci’ (‘sharp’ wines), which most people considered to be halfway between a blessing on account of their therapeutic effects and sacrilegious behaviour to be condemned.

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