Franciacorta is the hilly area located northeast of Milano, between Brescia and the southern shore of Lake Iseo. It is famous both for the soft beauty of its landscape and for its fine vineyards. In fact, the name Franciacorta also refers to the local, top-level traditional-method sparkling wine (from Chardonnay and/or Pinot Bianco grapes, a DOCG since 1995. Franciacorta has become synonymous with quality traditionally vinified Italian sparklers. Still wines from the region, which were previously known as Terre di Franciacorta DOC, have become Curtefranca. The name Franciacorta – Franzacurta in times past – was first documented in 1277, deriving from curtes francae: small monastic communities of the Middle Ages that were exempt from taxes (francae) because of the hard work put in by the monks, reclaiming land, farming and virtually directing the local economy. Even then, the latter featured grape-growing as one of the foremost activities in Franzacurta. However, well before medieval times, winemaking already prospered in these morainic hills, sheltered to the south by Monte Orfano, leaving it with a mild climate, influenced by Lake Garda to the east. Other traditional products of the region include some of Italy’s finest olive oils and cheeses; needless to say, that because of the vicinity to Lake Iseo, their culinary specialties include a lot of fresh water fish.