Italy - Tuscany - Barga -

Barga 1

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2 : Pisa
3 : Lucca
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5 : Florence
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7 : Castelnuovo di Garfagnana
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The ancient town of BARGA is situated in the valley of the river Serchio on the edge of the Garfagnana region. The valley lies between the Apennines and the rocky Apuan chain described in later pages. The original historical part of the town still exists, the ancient houses gathered below the cathedral dating to before the year 1000. The old town was protected in time of conflict by the walls that still surround it.

Barga has two distinct areas - Barga Vecchia and Barga Giardino. Barga Vecchia is the walled part and is a maze of small piazzas, shops and galleries and narrow climbing streets which rise to the hill summit and duomo (cathedral). Barga Vecchia is where one can find the tourist Office, the Teatre dei Differente (Opera Barga) and the internationally famous Caffe Capretz.

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Barga dates from before the Middle Ages as a castle surrounded by walls and entered by one of three gates, two of which, the Porta Reale  (above right) and the Porta Macchiaia, are still standing.

During the 1300's Barga became the principal outpost of the Signoria di Firenze. The town was well known during the Middle Ages for the manufacture of silk garments, its mills powered by hydraulic power derived from the nearby creeks. It remained an important commercial centre until the beginning of the 20th century.

From 1341 untill 1847 Barga was part of the Grand Duchy of Florence. During this period, Lucca and Pisa waged frequent battles in order to conquer the now wealthy town and its surrounding territory. From 1847 until the unification of Italy in 1861 Barga was part of the Duchy of Lucca, although it maintained a measure of autonomy during that period.

Today, Barga is a thriving commercial and tourist centre. Its natural charm is enhanced by its proximity to three protected conservation areas, the nature parks of L’Orecchiella, Alpi Apuane and Appennino Toscano.

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Some of the old streets, piazzas. buildings and alleys of Barga  (above, left and below)
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Barga's hilltop, near the Duomo, is known as Castello and is situated within the remains of the old town walls. The area is criss-crossed by cobblestone alleys, the most famous being Via di Mezzo, and dotted with squares such as Piazza Angelio, stairs and loggias. During July, the town celebrates the Festa del Castello during which visitors can sample local delicacies, watch craftsmen at work, or even join in one of the local dances.

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A view of the Duomo from a high point in the Barga Vecchia district  (above)



The visit to Barga continues on the next page.
Please click on the 'Next' button (lower right)


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