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Franciacorta

Places of interest: Nature

On the Brescia shore of Lake Iseo, Paratico park is an interesting example of landscape work designed to meld promoting the natural world with the need for an area in which local people and tourists can make use of, and enjoy, it.

The many facets of the attractive lake landscape have been made into a series of independent spaces, a never ending sequence of ‘green rooms’. There are two longitudinal itineraries across the park, one along the lake shore and the other in the centre, following the old train line which transported goods from the lake to the Ferdinandea railway line in the Po plains until the 1950s. The itinerary thus takes in the following: a flowerbed garden made up of a series of large raised beds in rusty iron arranged diagonally and packed with perennial flowers and bulbs which draw the gaze in the direction of the lake panorama; a room in which the gravel is arranged in a series of waves echoing those rippling across the lake, flanked by an expanse of herbs waving in the breeze; a room whose primary feature is a great wooden pergola covered with American vines combined with delicately fragrant roses conjuring up the Franciacorta hills’ agricultural and winemaking vocation; the central square, as key player, with its two rectangular tanks containing white water lilies, a miniature version of the views from the lake shores. Special attention was paid to recovering the many industrial archaeology traces in the area using a sober, contemporary language: the floor design, made up of a combination of red porphyry and Luserna stone incorporating the old train tracks; the use of simple materials, wood and iron, in the various structures such as the pergola and the gazebo, the flower pots, the chairs and the round table; the presence of a simply designed fountain carved out of a block of rock from neighbouring Sarnico, the site of famous quarries.

The choice of the plants is worthy of attention, based as it was on the need for a green space interesting all year round with plants flowering in sequence but also to introduce users to the area's great variety of botanical species in accordance with its agronomic characteristics. Thus there is a wide variety of trees, bushes and perennial plants requiring limited maintenance and water, in an attempt to foster culture, curiosity and, last but not least, biodiversity. The suggestions of the genius loci which inspired this landscape arrangement can be summed up thus: ‘I sat down to listen to what this place was singing under its breath. I imagined meadows of wild flowers, waving and rippling in the breeze from the lake which sometimes gusts in, creating vortexes which lift up dust.’ A great many plants as light as air providing flowers tending to move incessantly in the capricious breezes: this was the source of the park's name.

Parco delle Erbe Danzanti - the park of the dancing grasses - on Lungolago Chiatte in Paratico was mentioned in the Council of Europe Landscape Prize 2021-13.

The Commission deliberated according the park a special mention for the third edition of the Council of Europe Landscape Prize on the following grounds:

3. no. 30. Paratico town council - Parco Erbe Danzanti for its good practices applied to the recovery of a degraded semi-urban area, leaving signs of its historic functions with industrial elements integrated into contemporary works of art in a structured green space arranged in accordance with an interesting project fostering biodiversity and a return to the site’s characteristic plants.

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Dedicated to conifers with examples from all seven existing families, it is located in the Fus valley. It is an oasis of peace that extends around a small lake and changes appearance with the passing of the seasons.

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Established in 2000, it covers 4,309 hectares in the area of Brescia as well as other municipalities of Franciacorta (Rodengo Saiano and Cellatica).

Lake Iseo (also known as Sebino, its ancient Roman name) is the sixth largest lake in Italy, and it has the singular distinction of being home the largest inhabited lake island in Europe: Monte Isola. It was formed by the excavating action and subsequent withdrawal of an alpine glacier.
The landscape and nature of the Lake provide a happy meeting point between north and south. The north has a crown of snow-capped mountains, abundant river water, green hills caused by the rain and a cool breeze that takes the edge off the summer heat. The south has a mild climate, a bright sky and Mediterranean flora symbolised by the olive tree. The landscape has also been marked by the encounter between land and water: a dramatic encounter where the high cliffs drop straight into the lake, and a gentle encounter where the mountains and hills slope down towards the water’s edge.

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This park stretches along the river that flows from Lake Iseo and flows slowly in the plains of Lombardy. Also includes two of the municipalities of Franciacorta, Paratico and Capriolo, where there are some interesting paths. Many initiatives are organised throughout the year to make the most of the local environment, flavours and traditions.

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These are located on the outskirts of the Franciacorta area, where the hills slope down to Lake Iseo. A natural oasis of international interest and a unique site within Europe, it has been recognised as a Nature Reserve by the Lombardy Region since 1983. With their ponds and marsh vegetation, the bogs cover around 360 hectares, and they can be visited by following paths and wooden walkways that are well-integrated with the landscape. The best place to admire them with as a whole is the courtyard of the monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa, in Provaglio d’Iseo. The bogs are a special environment that was gradually created from the end of the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth following the extraction of peat, which was used as fuel. The excavation has given rise to numerous basins that are still visible today, providing a natural habitat for hundreds of birds and marsh plants. As such, the bogs are now surrounded by thick reeds and rushes and cattails, dotted with sparse trees, while the ponds are covered with water lilies (which are in full bloom from May to September). The many types of birds that live undisturbed at the site include as many as 25 species of marsh birds, such as herons, great crested grebes, purple herons, cormorants, shovelers, marsh harriesr and the black kites.

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Built by the Dominicans in the 14th century on top of the hill of the same name, which is covered in terraces and vineyards, the Santissima is one of the most scenic places in Franciacorta and a symbol of Gussago and is one of the FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) "Places of the Heart".. The park contains well-equipped stopping points, educational panels, a viewpoint, and a pedestrian/cycle track that circumnavigates the park.

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