I realized today that I haven’t talked much about where we are staying. We are in between two little tuscan hill towns called Barga and Castelnuovo in the Garfagnana (Enchanted Forests). The towns have the colors of the coastal villages, the medieval magic of the cities, and are full of life…but I have not seen a single tourist in this entire valley.
The recommendation came from one of Dan and Sarah’s Italian friends who live in Scotland. Many people from Barga moved to Glasgow during the war so there is a strong Scottish connection. On the main street going up into the old town there is a red english phone booth, a couple shops with scottish wares, and many people speak very good english. Barga also has a tiny opera house where Madame Butterfly first debuted, and the poet Giovanni Pascoli lived and wrote poetry here.
I posted this picture before, but here is the main square in Barga’s old town, right next to the opera:
The family who own our villa lived in Glasgow for many years and now live in Castelnuovo. The house we are in is three separate apartments. Dan’s parents are in the old stable, we are in the old wine cellar, and Dan and Sarah are in the old living quarters. The property is a tiered garden that goes all the way down into pasture and a river at the bottom of the valley. The Apuane alps dominate the skyline and every hill has a little town with a medieval fortress popping up out of the center. I could spend my entire time right here in this valley and never be wanting of culture, beauty, great food, vistas or history. Or fireflies!
Today was Barga’s market day and I loved looking through all the little stalls. I got some garden strawberries and cream that Beau and I took turns whipping by hand. It was well worth the effort! On our walk we finally found a place that sells Cecina (That Mariella recommended). It was closed but I think we’ll go back tonight to give it a try. It’s right next to Barga’s main gate and under what looks like the perfect Romeo and Juliet balcony. I can’t wait to see it during twilight!