Barga, A Step Into Renaissance

April 23, 2015 / Places
Barga, Tuscany

On every trip to Italy, I step off the beaten path and find a town the guidebooks have overlooked. Barga is such a town. Follow the country road north out of Lucca for a 45-minute drive through the twisting Garfagnana hillsides. Awaiting you on the mountaintop is Barga.

photo 3 Barga arch

You enter the town through a Medieval archway, and then stroll along the narrow winding passageways. The art and architecture that greet you make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a Renaissance poem. Unique among hilltop towns, Barga was once a stronghold of the wealthy and influential Medici family of Florence.

photo 1 passageways

Imagine what stories are held in the stone pathways and structures. Ponder this as you sip espresso while overlooking the peaceful valley.

Worth the walk up several long stairways and pathways is the beautiful duomo, sitting high atop the town with its 360-degree view of the mountains and the Serchio River Valley.

In September, Barga can be a sleepy town after lunch, so visit in the mornings. Summertime brings art and jazz festivals and outdoor markets to this artsy town inhabited by locals, American ex-pats and Italian-Scottish artists.

Barga is a jewel of a town the guidebooks rarely mention. But now you know.

photo Barga red car
photo 2 Barga view

Thanks to Mizio66 for this final image. CC BY-SA 3.0

by Lenora Spatafore Boyle

Lenora guides women into the sweet life each year through her popular Italy Retreat for Women to Live La Dolce Vita. A Sweet Life coach for 23 years, Lenora sets an irresistible stage for colorful travel adventures and transformational workshops. She is a happiness and belief expert who guides women into la dolce vita in Tuscany and the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera.

16 Responses to “Barga, A Step Into Renaissance”

  1. Gian Banchero

    Does anyone else see the face from Dante’s Inferno in the third photo down? Hint: the hubcap. Don’t get too close to the photo.

  2. Malinda

    Wow! I’d love to visit. Thanks for the beautiful photos and great article. Wow!!!!!’

    • Malinda,
      I do hope you get to visit Barga. The drive up the mountain is narrow but beautiful. I took the bus up from Lucca.

  3. marianna raccuglia

    Thank you for this article – looks so peaceful and beautiful.
    Wonderful photos

    • Marianna,
      Yes, peaceful is a great description of Barga surrounded by gorgeous mountains, and away from the fast lane of big city living.

  4. David Barneby

    I have stayed a very memorable couple of nights in Barga , when I was looking at mountain farmhouses for sale in the area . It is a lovely old town in an unspoilt rural area with the mountains all around . I had supper and stayed at a bar restaurant that had newly created cosy accomodation upstairs .

  5. Victoria De Maio

    Thank you for sharing another gem…I believe this one is near some of my ancestral roots (in the Garfagnana hillsides)- I’ll have to do some research.

    • Victoria,
      Wow! Let us know if you find some of your family roots in this area. My ancestral family is from southern Italy in Calabria.


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