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Barga, Province of Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Barga is the main centre in the central Serchio valley in the Garfagnana area, with the ancient medieval borough on top of a hill and the newer urban area below.

A few km from the province capital Lucca, the town is surrounded by a natural landscape of astonishing beauty, with the summits of the Alpi Apuane and the Apennines in the background, and is included among the "Most Beautiful Boroughs in Italy" as well as being granted the orange flag of the Italian Touring Club. It is also well-known since the 14th century for the production of the "figurine", small chalk statues, a craft that goes back to Etruscan times.

Info

Altitude: 409 m a.s.l -- Population: about 10,000 inhabitants -- Zip/postal code: 55051 -- Phone Area Code: 0583 -- Patron Saint: St Christopher celebrated on 25 July -- Frazioni & Localities: Sommocolonia, Loppia, Fornaci di Barga, Castelvecchio Pascoli, Ponte all'Ania, Tiglio, Renaio

History

An ancient settlement of the Ligurians, conquered by the Romans during the 2nd century BC, in the 9th century AD Barga was a fiefdom of the Lombard Rolandinghi family, then belonged to the Commune of Lucca, and in 1341 passed under Florence, and the period of greatest splendour began since the Medici granted privileges to the area and favoured crafts and trade.

At that period many Renaissance palaces were built, as the Bertacchi Palace which would be the local residence of the Grandukes of Tuscany. After the unity of Italy Barga lost all its privileges and a massive emigration began to Britain and the USA. More recently, tourism attracted by the great natural beauty of the territory is bringing new life to the economy of the place.

What to see

  • the Cathedral, originally in the Romanesque style, with an ancient central door and a marble ambon of the 12th century, and in the presbyterium a huge, 12th-century wooden statue representing St. Christopher
  • the Palazzo Pretorio, which hosts the Mostra Preistorica della Garfagnana, with items found in the territory ranging from the Palaeolithic to the 3rd century BC
  • the native house and tomb of Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli, at Castelvecchio Pascoli, 5 km to the northwest
  • the Museo della Figurina e dell'Emigrante at Coreglia Antelminelli, devoted to reconstruct the ancient craft of the figurinaio, an itinerant artisan that by night worked with chalk molds to create figurines representing people, animals, crib characters, that were then sold during the day on the streets of Italy and Europe.


Province of Lucca

Events

  • 6 January, costume parade through the historical centre of children and adults singing old songs of the epiphany tradition.
  • 23 December, living crib in costume, including also ancient trades and shops, with a procession to the Cathedral where the native hut is prepared.

Where to stay

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