Wine tasting in Franciacorta

332_332_franciacorta_vinoFranciacorta, the wine country near the lovely Lake Iseo, is one of Italy’s best kept secrets for wine lovers. Franciacorta´s bubblies are considered to be the crème de la crème of sparkling wines in Italy: In 1995 Franciacorta was given D.O.C.G. (Denomination of Origin Controlled and Guaranteed) status, a significant testimonial to its winemakers’ continuing commitment to excellent work and to further improving the quality of Franciacorta wines.

Not only is this region the perfect wine tasting excursion from Poggio Verde as it is just about an hour drive: it is also a natural and cultural enclave where all your tastes for art, history and the outdoor life can be gratified. The lures of the place are indeed many and varied: as much spectacular nature as anyone could ever want, Lake Iseo and its marvelous island, castles  and much more.

Here you can find some hints to orient yourself in the kingdom of wine.


Ca’ del Bosco opens its cellars for tours designed to give wineFranciacorta - CadelBosco enthusiasts first-hand knowledge of how Franciacorta is made and to guide them around the vineyards at the winery. A walk through the Ca’ del Bosco barrique cellars, historic repositories of art and innovation, takes visitors to the Cupola. Here, at the heart of the estate, a glass of wine awaits to reveal the secrets behind a great passion. Via Albano Zanella, 13 – Erbusco (BS) Phone: +39 030 7766111  Email:



franciacorta - la montinaLa Montina has always been an open cellar:  wine lovers who come on guided tours with ‘degustazione’ (wine tasting) are welcomed. You will be told about the Franciacorta’s complex journey from vineyard to bottle and you will discover the passion, history and hard work that goes into every elegant and persistent bubble of our sapid and wonderfully fresh Franciacorta. Moreover, La Montina has been recognised  as having the highest standards for welcoming and accommodating visitors of all the estates In Franciacorta. Via Baiana, 17 – 25040 Monticelli Brusati (BS) Phone: +39030653278



Contadi Castaldi, a winery which originally was a brickyard, icontadi castladis highly specialized company in the art of innovation, which searched the Franciacorta region to find the most evocative vineyards and the most passionate winegrowers.  Its large spaces and long tunnels where the bricks were fired proved to be the perfect place for ageing Franciacorta vintages and welcoming wine lovers. Via Colzano, 32, 25030 Adro, Franciacorta (Brescia) Phone: +39 030 745 0126 Email:




franciacorta - il mosnelOne of the loveliest historic wineries in the Franciacorta appellation, Il Mosnel Winery produces a range of excellent still wines and Bollicine (“Bubbles”). it’s a beautiful historic estate located near the medieval village of Rodengo.This winery could be one of your favorite wineries in Franciacorta for the quality of the wines, the beauty of the estate and the hospitality. Via Barboglio, 14 – 25040 Camignone – Brescia (BS) Phone: +39.030.653117



Another top-quality winery is Berlucchi, where a professionafranciacorta - berlucchil guide will accompany you as you discoverall of the places where Franciacorta’s history was written, those halls, alcoves, and underground passages where tradition and innovation meet and shake hands. Of course, to fully enjoy this moment of relax you can taste and savour Berucchi’s fine selection of Franciacorta. Piazza Duranti, 4, 25040, Corte Franca (BS), Phone:  +39 030 984381 Email:



Bersi Serlinifranciacorta - bersi selini is one of the oldest wineries in Franciacorta. The location is stunning, close to Lake Iseo and set amid picturesque vineyards, where you can’t miss the chance to taste an excellent glass of wine. The winery and hospitality area has been renovated by Italian designer Flavio Albanese, giving the impressive property a modern and luminous appearance through the use of glass and wood that is striking and contemporary. Via Cerreto 4 and 7 , Provaglio d’Iseo (Bs) 25050, Italy. Phone: +39 0309823338 Email:


Expo 2015 is HERE!

Expo has opened!! Until October 31st this outstanding exposition on how the countries of the world are working on the issue of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” is being visited by millions of people from all over the world!


Expo 2015 is open not only in the Exposition site but also in the historic heart of Milan, through ExpoGate, both a meeting and entertainment space and an information point for citizens and tourists in Milan. This location symbolizes the role as a gateway between Milan and the Expo, in the same way as Milan has always been considered a bridge between Italy and the rest of the world.

Milan and its region, Lombardy, are proud to host such an important event and can’t wait for all the visitors to come and visit. In fact, beyond the pavilions of the fair, there are many thrilling experiences and interesting trips in the amazing surrounding region which make Milan a top destination during the Expo period, with many not-to-be-missed events. 

Indeed, expo duomothe city has undergone a process of renovation, becoming a modern European city while maintaining the ancient splendor. Even some of the main attractions of the city will change their look for the occasion. The Duomo, after a huge restructuring operation, will reopen its “Museo del Duomo”. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the historic gallery arcade completed in 1877 is the oldest shopping mall in the world, during the Expo will be exceptionally opened until late in order to host a large number of cultural and gastronomic events.

The artistic and cultural heritage of Milan is on full display, as well: among the many exhibitions and museums of the city, don’t miss The Last Supper and Leonardo in Milan (an exhibition of Leonardo’s work during his 25 years spent in Milan) and an exhibition about Caravaggio, which was planned for 2010 and will be repeated on the occasion of Expo. Moreover, others great exhibitions about the Expo’s theme are programmed at the Triennale and Pinacoteca di Brera.

Lastly, if you are interested in fashion and design, sports, music and theatre, you will certainly have plenty of special events connected with the theme of Expo as well.

Monza: The Iron Crown and the Cathedral of Monza

After visiting the top highlights in Milan and the Lakes, make time to visit the hidden gems of Nothern Italy. One of the spots deserving a visit is Monza.

monza cathedral
The Cathedral of Monza, a magnificent medieval building of white and green marble, has great artistic and historic value. This is not surprising if you take a look at the elegant facade, influenced by the Gothic pattern typical of Pisa, and at the interiors, especially the frescoes.

Inside the Cathedral, the Chapel of Teodolinda is particularly famous for the Iron Crown that is enshrined here.






The Iron Crown, made in the Middle Ages, is both a reliquiary and one of the oldest royal insignia of Christendom. It was used  until the nineteenth century for the coronation of the Kings of Italy. This treasure consists of a circlet of gold fitted around a central iron band, traditionally tought to be forged with one of the nails used for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ .



If you are intrigued by the history of the Iron Crown, I suggest you to watch this old Italian movie, “The Iron Crown”, which tells a fantastic story about the arrival of the Crown in Italy.

A day in the vineyards near Poggio Verde

Last weekend Luigi and I enjoyed a day strolling through the lovely Val Curone just 20 minutes from Poggio Verde.  It’s a protected valley dotted with farms and vineyards in the setting of the Italian pre-Alps: the perfect place to spend a pretty winter day.


We had lunch at Oasi di Galbusera Bianca, a charming Agriturismo located in a WWF “Oasis for Biodiversity”, surrounded by a dynamic organic farm. We enjoyed a simple but delicious meal in the cozy atmosphere, close to a welcoming fireplace. Beyond the restaurant, there’s also a country-style bar where you can taste organic snacks, cold dishes and locally made sorbets.  We tasted the local wine made by the nearby vineyard La Costa, a surprisingly crisp and clean white wine called La Brigante made with the Chardonnay and Incrocio Manzoni grape varieties.  We’ll be visiting the La Costa winery very soon to pick up some bottles for Poggio Verde!



The location is surrounded by the Regional Nature Reserve of Montevecchia and the Curone Valley .  After lunch we took advantage of this enchanting place and had a relaxing walk amongst the vineyards along well-marked trails. There are various trails for all tastes, and we were overtaken by a mountain bike or two. Our cousins the birders (Peters 1 + 2, Susie and Connie, you know who you are!) would have gone wild with all the feathered wildlife around.  Next time I hope to come with them!                                                                         –    Gretchen

Gretchen in the Vineyards in Parco Curone

Poggio Verde Hosts Photo Shoot for New Cookbook

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The photoshoot team and Italian Friends of TCF supporters ready two fresh Branzino (Seabass) for the photoshoot.

Recent months have brought photo and video crews to Poggio Verde to photograph some beautiful Italian food for a lovely cookbook currently under development.

The cookbook will support The Italian Friends of The Citizens Foundation,   a highly-regarded organization that is building schools in Pakistan.

The cookbook is a collection of prized recipes from some of the supporters of the organization who happen to be excellent cooks. The book will be sold online and at events and markets in Milan beginning in May.

The photos here are of a recent video and photo shoot.

Here are the beautiful finished products of our 3 days of arduous work!



November menù and St. Martin’s Day at Giovanna Passeri Agriturismo

In Italian agricultural tradition, November is conventionally associated with St. Martin’s Day and the end of the farming working year. Giovanna Passeri Agriturismo e Scuola di Cucina can’t of course miss the chance to celebrate with a typical autumnal menù! Here’s just a taste of what you may enjoy, accompanied by good wine.

Cornmeal mush crouton with mustard cabbage salad

Pumpkin dumplings with butter and sage

Roasted goose on potato and juniper cream

Martin Sec pears in red wine with Moscato semifreddo

But also:

Pumpkin flan with parmesan sauce and fry(fritturina)

Goose meat sauce ravioli or leek and potato velvet sauce

Roasted goose with braised savoy cabbage or salty tart with radicchio and casera cheese

Seasonal fresh and dried fruit


For you to feel the atmosphere  surrounding  St. Martin’s Day, it’s a pleasure to report this poem entitled “San Martino”,  by the famous Italian writer Giosuè Carducci


giovanna passeri

Tasty Weekend at Agriturismo Giovanna Passeri!

This weekend your kids can’t miss the Halloween Cooking Class! They’ll have a lot of fun preparing delicious Halloween themed surprises such as Chocolate Bat Cookies, Halloween Cake Pops, Pumpkin Cupcake and Chocolate Witch Hats!

And there’s no need to worry if you are not a child anymore or you don’t feel like joining other cooking classes, since Giovanna Passeri has tought up some  mouthwatering menus you’ll definitely enjoy.

Here you can have a look at Agriturismo Giovanna Passeri’s fine selection of food and you’ll also find further interesting information.

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