Italy-Tuscany Flag

Barga >  Google™ Map  Barga Coat of Arms

Italy-Tuscany Flag Italy > Tuscany

Sep 2012

Barga Coat of Arms

It's becoming a bit of a habit in these Tuscan-hillside towns to persevere with trying to park at the bottom then to lug it up, on foot, straight to the top.

That way, the inevitable church or cattedrale up there provides a calming sanctuary and after 20 minutes you'll have steamed off, all ready for a fair-minded mooch on the way back down.

Fine views from in front of il Duomo di Barga over the surrounding countryside and towards the Apuan Alps. 6,500-foot some of these fellas, which is twice what you'd normally expect to see in Scotland, say.

Did somebody just say 'Scotland'?

  Garfagnana

That's just the old name of this whole geographical region of Northern Tuscany and it's mountainous stuff. The hillside towns and villages are a sight and further afield to the north, in the Parco dell'Orecchiella reserve, you might well be met by wolves and bears, they say.

Any bears you might meet doesn't mean there are a load of Rangers fans in town but this is 'The most Scottish place in Italy', they say.

The old Duke of Argyll invited a group of forestry workers back to Inveraray to tend to some of the trees on his estate back in the 1890s.

Their families, then others, followed and 60% of the town is said to have a family connection to old Alba. It's even twinned with East Lothian and  Paolo Nutini's great-grandfather left here to end up running a chippy in Paisley.

That'll be the reason for the fish and chip festival, then? Every July, the bagpipes and the kilts come out and the Sagra del Pesce e Patate invites the town and beyond for a greasy few weeks although there's no  Irn-Bru™ or broon sass[1] but balsamic's quite close?

[1] Yes, it's known that you know that this pair now know that's an Edinburgh thing.

There's another cultural connection to their Celtic cousins, the telephone box that was  donated by some old, distant son or other.

The exchange isn't all one way. Barga's youth, it's presumed, have embraced the gesture by pulling the receiver off, smashing some glass and yes, it does have a little bit of a whiff of an underground car park.

  Gelateria il Giardino (Strada Antonio Mordini)

Many of the emigrants who didn't end up behind a fryer in Falkirk, say, settled to work, instead, in ice cream in Inverness, say. No need of a festival for them, they're already well represented over the bridge and near the shopping 'centre'.

Bar Alpino looks as good an option as any to refuel before tackling the hair-raising hairpins on the descent. The request for a traditional, Scottish filling, however, was met with derision and while this phrasebook waver is no expert, the response was roughly translated as...

'You are very welcome in this town with your fish and chips but don't push it pal! Egg and onion? In a sandwich?'