In the heart of Franciacorta, among the gentle hills of vineyards, dominates the Castle Bornato and Villa Orlando, rare example of a Renaissance villa built in a medieval castle. The location is absolutely stunning and the view glimpse on the Po Valley and on clear days all the way to the Apennines.
The original core was an ancient Roman castrum built to control the consular road linking Brescia and Bergamo.. In the early Middle Ages Inverardo da Bornato strengthened the fortress within the battlemented walls, building towers and buttresses, moats and drawbridge.
His grandson Giambellino, great patron of arts and letters, made the house a meeting place for artists and poets from all over Italy, among which deserves mention Dante Alighieri.
In 1564, the Bornati family heir, Gandini, built inside the castle the Renaissance villa called today Villa Orlando from the family who owns it since 1930.
The park hosts an Italian garden to the south and an english garden to the north. There are several trees aged more than hundred years: cedars of Lebanon, deodara cedars, ginkobiloba and, very rare, a Sophora laponica dated 200 years, the only one survivor of the first imported into Europe at the end of 1700. In the woods northeast there is a romantic grotto built in 1800 in medieval dungeons.
In the ancient cellars located under the main tower of the castle, for 700 years the wine labelled Castello di Bornato has been produced until the early 2000. In the underground area, oak barrels over 50 years old for red wine are still in place. In the other part of the cellar 8 barrels glass blocks have been used up to 70 years for white wine and a small barrel of cement for the red wine. A small museum area houses antique equipment including a deraspatore, two presses, a corker, a filter, an electric pump, a bottler, a hand pump. Today the production of wine, one of the most prestigious labels of Franciacorta, is decentralized to accommodate modern machinery and follow the latest techniques in terms of winemaking. Produced in small quantities of excellent quality and bottled only in the best vintages, the wine can be tasted and bought in the premise.