Barga, The Italian Provence

 

Located in the province of Lucca, in Tuscany, Barga is the most densely populated centre of the Serchio Valley for its historical, artistic, civic and demographic importance. The Serchio Valley has enchanted the Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli and after him the Scottish painter John Bellany, who has taken up residence in this “new Provence”, finding the source of inspiration of its paintings.

Barga is named, "The most Scottish town in Italy," after the hills and reminiscence of Scotland. Through the cart-roads and the narrow lanes visitors can discover the charm of this beautiful medieval walled city, whose spirit reveals into the vision of the thousand-year old Cathedral and the shrieking of swallows springing in the sky. The urban structure of Barga has remained more or less that of the time of the Commune, with a tangled network of streets running between the irregular buildings. Porta Reale is the doorway to the town.

To see

Conservatory of Santa Elisabetta – It is an old convent of the Poor Clares dating back to the fifteenth century, which holds a beautiful altarpiece by the Della Robbia school and a fifteenth-century Crucifix.

Cathedral of San Cristoforo – It is the most important religious building of the village that was built in different ages. Inside of it, there is a polychrome wooden statue of the town’s patron, St. Christopher, behind the high altar. The chapel on the right is entirely occupied by Della Robbia terracottas, and in the chapel on the left the Barga of the 1500s can be seen in a sixteenth-century panel.

Church of the Blessed Crucifix – It is the most ancient church after the Cathedral; it has a late sixteenth-century façade and the interiors are rich of plaster and golden decorations.

Giovanni Pascoli House-Museum – It is a three-storey building surrounded by an orchard and a garden with a private chapel, where the poet spent the most peaceful years of his life until his death on the 6th of April 1912. Here he composed his most famous lyrical works.

Church of the Santissima Annunziata – The church was built in a Latin-cross layout in 1595 around a venerated icon of the Virgin.

Civic Museum of the Barga territory – It hosts geological and archeological finds and artworks of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

To taste

Spelt soup – Spelt was a cereal largely used in ancient times, and lately rediscovered by the Tuscany “nouvelle cuisine”.

Cold cuts of great quality

Chestnuts, honey and wild berries

To enjoy

Festival of the old town centre – Gastronomic stands and entertainment, it holds in the second and the third week of July.

Patronage Festival – Procession in honour of San Cristoforo, the festival takes place on 24th and 25th July.

Bargajazz – A very successful jazz festival holding in August.