Only an hour east of Italy's famed fashion capital Milan, the little-known Italian wine region of Franciacorta boasts historic castles, over 100 gorgeous wineries, top-rated restaurants, and hidden cobblestone streets perfect for exploring. Famous for their award-winning sparkling wine and wow-worthy vineyards, Franciacorta is not only a wine connoisseur’s dream, but the perfect destination for travelers who are looking to discover hidden gems and escape tourist-run cities.
Take in Sweeping Views at Lake Iseo
When people think of lakes in Italy, Lake Como might come to mind. However, this lesser known Lake Iseo in the heart of scenic Lombardy in northern Italy offers just as incredible views of the dreamy landscape that encompasses the region. If you’re a fan of taking the road less traveled, there's plenty to discover lakeside. With easy access to some of the best eateries around, scenic hiking trails, and world-class museums, Lake Iseo is an ideal point of departure for all your day's activities. Or, if you’re dying to get out on the water, there are plenty of boat tours offering access to nearby fishing villages and islands.
Visit Picturesque Wineries to Taste Franciacorta Wines
Vineyard-clad hills define this whimsical Italian oasis. Much like French Champagne, Franciacorta wines are the first Italian sparkling wines produced exclusively using the traditional method of re-fermentation in the same bottle. The results? Complex, crisp, and refreshing tastes that will make you fall in love immediately. When you're in town, be sure to make stops at Ronco Calino and Monte Rossa, which are just two of the local vineyards to visit on your trip.
Rave-Worthy Dining Options for All Gourmands
Whether you’re by the lake or up in the hills, Franciacorta has tasty delights aplenty for even the most discerning eaters. Here, you can pair your traditionally-crafted bubbly with incredible seafood or hand-made pastas at some of the city's finest eateries, such as Dispensa Pani e Vini, where guests can indulge in traditional tortellini and perfectly seared scallops in a welcoming and elegant space.
Pamper Yourself at World-Class Spas
While the impressive and enticing sips are sure to take the edge off of any lingering stresses you might have, don't forget to book a rejuvenating spa treatment during your stay here. With plenty of luxe hotel and spas in the area, it's easy for visitors to completely indulge in all the relaxing they need on the trip. Treat yourself to a well-deserved massage or mud-therapy session at Espace Chenot Spa at L’Albereta Relais & Chateaux, a five-star luxury getaway tucked away in the glorious hills.
Get Lost in Franciacorta's Rich History & Cultural Landmarks
The area's vibrant history is largely tied to the presence of monastic institutions that date all the way back to the 700s. For those who fully appreciate history-packed lessons on Italian art, architecture, and life, look no further. Some of the top historic ruins in northern Italy can be found here, and in the surrounding areas—including Monastero di San Pietro in Lamosa, which to this day, exhibits its colorful medieval past.