Strolling through Franciacorta’s peatlands today (le torbiere in Italian), I couldn’t help but be reminded of one of my visits to Soldera. As anyone who’s ever laid foot on his Montalcino property can tell you, there’s nothing that makes him more proud (except for maybe his wine) than his wife’s “white flower” garden and the marsh that he built there when he first bought the estate in the 1970s.
The garden and the marsh attract all kinds of insects and other life that wouldn’t otherwise thrive there, he explains.
After lunch today, I took a hike through the peatland trails of Franciacorta. What a great way to spend an afternoon (even if it was super hot)!
In the photo above, you can see the southern tip of Lake Iseo to the right and the northern tip of the marshes to the left. I took the photo from the road that leads to the village of Polaveno on the east side of the lake.
In another era, the peat was collected and used as fuel. Check out this Wiki entry on peat and peatlands. I had no idea that peat was once a major source of energy.
Today, this marshland is a source of immense biodiversity within the appellation. It was incredible to feel the hike in temperature and the wave of humidity as I entered the marsh.
Walking along the trails, I saw a hare and snake and you could feel the life breathing and seething around you. Wonderful!
Currently 91° F. in Brescia (capital of the province where Franciacorta is located), today probably wasn’t the best day for a stroll in the swamp! But I highly recommend it to you (with cooler temperatures).
Breathtakingly beautiful, teaming with life, gently revealing their secrets, the peatlands of Franciacorta were an otherworldly, truly magical experience.
Here’s an English-language link to the Franciacorta Peatlands Reserve and Visitor Center website, which has an ambitious program of tours and visits.
The site has a contact/directions page but in case you have trouble finding the trail that leads to the actual visitors center, it starts across the road from the Pizzeria Nonna Nice, where there is a crosswalk.
Please note that even when the center is closed (like today, Sunday), you need to buy a one euro ticket per person (there’s a vending machine on the trail that leads to the welcome center).