duomo di BargaBarga

Barga is a small hilltown, north of Lucca, in the valley known as the "Garfagnana". It is a very small town with limited accommodation, but incredibly lively with excellent restaurants. You may come to Barga as a day trip from Lucca or Pisa, but you will completely miss the point. Three days is really the minimum stay to get any feel for what Barga is about. Barga is NOT about ticking off items in a list of "Must Do's" and "Must See's"...(if you are into that please do not come to Barga)...it is about a real Italian town with a vibrant community and loads of character. There are Opera and Jazz festivals in Summer, but the Jazz club is open every Friday (apart from August when the Festival is on) For more details of that and EVERYTHING going on in Barga go to www.barganews.com an english language "e-magazine" about Barga life.


There is VERY little accommodation in Barga. There are now only three hotels, La Pergola, L'Alpino, and the restored hotel Villa Moorings, all in the "New Town. The Villa Libano which was in dire need of modernisation has now closed. La Pergola is basically good, the Alpino is small and central, The Villa Moorings is in a beautifully restored Liberty style villa in the new town. Often listed under Barga, the International Centre "Il Ciocco" is a vast conference hotel some 5km from Barga (a car would be necessary) see TripAdvisor for reviews. In the centro storico there are no hotels, but there are now 3 B and Bs. "Casa Fontana B&B" is in the historic centre and has 5 bedrooms and a large private garden; Acchiappasogni  has 3 rooms and il Cielo di Barga 2 rooms: go to Trip Advisor  for user reviews. There are also a number of apartments to let: go to Barganews.com and click on Accommodation. A hostel has recently opened in Villa Gherardi, just outside e walls of the old town.


One of the joys of Barga is the food. The Garfagnana valley is justly famous for its prosciutto, pork, pecorino cheese and honey. Within the walled town there are excellent restaurants where you can sample local specialities in a genuine atmosphere. You will need at least three days just to sample them even with two meals per day! Barga is a "Citta Slow" so all food is freshly prepared from (mostly) local ingredients so menus are very seasonal. Specialities include Stinco di Maiale (pork shin) Tagliata di Manzo (beef) Funghi, especially the Porcini found locally, and various chestnut dishes. Pastas include ravioli (with butter and sage) maccheroni (a flat pasta, not the tubes) which is usually taken with a game sauce eg lepre (hare) or cinghiale (wild boar). Trout is common as there are many trout farms in the valley.

Out of season, the restaurant choices narrow dramatically. One to consider just as you begin the climb just inside the walls is Trattoria L'Altana, Via di Mezzo 1, 0583 723192, with extraordinary homemade pastas, a cut above the above-average trattoria, and well regarded by the neighborhood. Bang in the middle of Barga, on Piazza Angelio, is the busy and friendly l'Osteria, with a very good menu. It can be very busy in summer as many of the musical events (both classical and contemporary) take place in Piazza Angelio. Scacciaguai on via di Mezzo provides a modern twist on traditional Italian cuisine, as does la Locanda di Mezzo. A great bar in the old town is Da Aristos, always friendly and lively. For coffee and pastries you can't beat Caffe Lucchesi, in the New Town. Places to Eat

Getting to Barga

 You don't need a car in Barga (in fact cars are a nuisance in a Tuscan hilltown!) unless you want to dash around the countryside (NOT recommended) but public transport is generally excellent and reliable. It is easy to get to from Pisa and Lucca by bus or by train (but note that the train station is 5km from the town so the bus is better) There is a direct service by VAIbus  Lazzi from Pisa Airport or Centrale to Lucca (Piazzale Verdi) and from there direct to Barga (the stop is at the Fosso, just outside the mediaeval gates)


When to come

 The answer is almost any time. Spring is lovely for walking in the hills and mountains nearby ( for serious walkers there are several c2000 metre tops in the Apuane and Apenini) the mountain wildflowers are beautiful. In summer there are music festivals in July and August. The summer is the season of village "Sagra" (outdoor communal feasts with music) which should not be missed. September and October are great again for hillwalking. October is the time for the chestnut festivals in all the hilltowns around Barga. Winters can be wet and there is usually some snow in Barga in January and February.


Originally religious festivals, now usually dedicated to raising funds for village facilities or local charities, the Sagra is communal feast eaten out doors in a vineyard, orchard or chestnut forest. Some are dedicated to a specific dish for example in Barga there is the "Sagra del Maiale"(pork) and the famous "Sagra delle Pesce e Patate" (fish and chips)