Approximately 60% of Barga’s inhabitants have relatives in the west of Scotland. Many residents emigrated in the early part of the 20th century to work in catering. In many cases their descendants have returned to live in this lovely hilltop town. It is quite strange to hear someone speaking Italian and then break into a broad Scottish accent.
The origins of Barga are unknown, but historical documents indicate that it was a fiefdom of Lombardy in the 8th century. In the 14th century the town joined the Republic of Florence, opening itself to attacks from Pisa and Lucca, which explains the design of the town. It is shaped like a walled castle with few entrances.
The Porta Reale entrance is beside the car park on the road between Bagni di Lucca and Castelnuovo.
This cute little Fiat was parked at the entrance. I don’t think it was small enough to make its way through the narrow streets of Barga.
All the paved streets lead to the ancient Cathedral, dedicated to San Cristoforo, built in the 11th century in the Romanesque style. That is where I headed first.
The streets are narrow and steep.
A bit of ancient Roman wiring.
Just before the church is the most beautiful house with a terrace garden.
The cathedral keeps guard over the town.
There is one last steep climb to the top.
The view from the top is wonderful, especially in winter when there is snow on the mountains.
Luckily, the church was open.
The pulpit was designed in the 12th century by Guido Bignarelli.
A 3.5 metre wooden statue of Saint Christopher dominates the church.
There are beautiful stained glass windows.
There is some impressive art.
Bedside the church is a museum, which wasn’t open.
I wandered back down the hill and found another church in a completely different style. the Chiesa del Santissimo Crocifisso is a 12th century structure that was completely remodelled in the 17th century.
The view from the courtyard of this church was excellent too.
Barga’s streets are steep and narrow and every now and then you come upon a pretty piazza. In winter there is not a lot happening, but I saw lots of cafes and restaurants just waiting for some warm weather to open their terraces for outdoor dining.
The Teatro dei Differenti was built in 1688 and renewed in 1795.
The postmen here need special skills. There is no way I would be driving the van up these streets.
Barga is a beautifully kept town. You could wander for hours in the maze of streets.
I loved this little decoration on the side of a building. It was no bigger than my hand.
I stopped to buy some fabric in a tiny shop where I met Licia who told me she has worked here most of her life and lives next door to the shop.
There is a new section of Barga which is also lovely. I’ll have to go back.
I’m sorry I won’t be here in summer for the annual Fish and Chip Festival in July/August.