BARGA – KNOWN AS THE MOST SCOTTISH TOWN IN ITALY
Barga is a Medieval town and stands on a hill 410 metres above sea-level.
Many of the residents of the area can trace their relatives to those that emigrated, especially to the Americas, Scotland and Australia. This was caused by the great poverty, the lack of opportunity and the closed society that exists even today. For some, they have come full circle as they have returned to retire here. In particular, a significant proportion of the Scots-Italian population of Glasgow and other cities can trace roots back to Barga and the surrounding region.
There is an annual international opera festival, called “Opera Barga Festival”, and a long running and very successful jazz festival, ‘Bargajazz’. Recently, Barga has become the home of many painters, including John Bellany who exhibit their work in some of the small galleries within the castle walls. The “Sagra” is a feature of Tuscan rural culture; communal meals for several hundred people, eaten in the open air, often in orchards, vineyards or sports grounds. Originally religious celebrations, they are now often used to raise funds for local causes.
Each town and village will have its own peculiar sagra: Around Barga from July to September it is possible to participate in a Sagra every night. In Barga itself there is the “Cena in Vignola” in the vineyard below the Duomo, and in August the “Sagra delle pesce e Patate” (Fish and Chips) in celebration of the Barga/Scottish connection. At nearby San Pietro in Campo, there is the “Sagra del Maiale” (Pork), at Filecchio the “Sagra della Polenta e Ucelli” (originally small wild birds, now pheasant).
The Duomo (cathedral) (11th-16th centuries), the main example of Romanesque architecture in the Serchio Valley. Of the original church, built in local limestone, parts of the façade remain. The interior has a nave and two aisles. It houses a great (3.5 m) wooden statue of St. Christopher, patron of the city. Also noteworthy is the pulpit (12th century), designed by Guido Bigarelli da Como, with four red marble columns resting on lion sculptures. The campanile contains three bells, the oldest of which dates to the 16th century
PLACES TO EAT
Many of our guests have visited Barga and enjoyed it so much they visit it again and again.
RECOMMENDED BY OUR GUESTS:
LA GELATERIA – Via di Mezzo No 14 – a Bar serving ice creams, very inexpensive drinks, friendly service with tables and umbrellas outside.
CAFFE CAPRETZ – Piazza Salvo Salvi No 1
This is a restaurant with a small terrace at the rear and a large covered area at the front with vaulted ceilings. Good food, reasonably priced and extremely friendly service from Giuseppe (who speaks quite good English) and Federico ( who doesn’t!) Our guests first went in 2008 and on their return in 2010 were remembered – But let’s face it guys, who would forget the wonderful families of the Garrood and Donatantonio’s who have been holidaying together for many years! Hope you don’t mind the name dropping!
FISH & CHIPS FEAST
The Scottish influence also organise Fish & Chip weeks. The fish is brought over from Scotland! The event has become so popular that they have moved the venue to a football ground! They usually hold this in the month of August and dates are not advertised until nearer the time.