Best things to do in Barga: Tuscany’s Best-Kept Secret

Barga, Tuscany

If you are a fan of small quiet villages and looking for an escape from the rapid, modern life, then Barga is your place. This small, traditional village is placed among the hills of the Garfanga countryside in Tuscany. With its greenery views, small stone-build houses, and streets, it is ideal for a calming escape. However, with its rich history, Barga still has many attractions and things to do and see which will make your visit an unforgettable experience. 

How to get to Barga

Barga gives a majority of options to reach it. Even if you cannot always arrive in the village itself, transportation can still take you really close. 

Plane to Barga

The nearest airport to Barga is Pisa Galileo Galilei Airport, which is located around 42 kilometers away. Other nearby airports include Florence (64.9 km), Bologna (81.9 km), Milan Linate (181.3 km) and Milan Bergamo (187.4 km). From there, you can use a train, bus or a car to reach the village 

Bus to Barga

You may prefer to take a bus to get to Barga. The bus company is called Vai Bus. There are daily runs to Barga leaving mostly from Lucca or the recently opened trading center in Marlia. it takes you about an hour, and there are more or less 8 runs per day, depending on week and weekend days. We strongly recommend double-checking the timetables, especially if you are planning to travel on weekends.

Train to Barga

There is a rail station in Barga, named Barga – Gallicano, set on the LuccaAulla rail line. The only trains heading to Barga leave from Lucca or Pisa Centrale stations. From Lucca rides are direct and it takes you about 40-50 minutes while they cost €4.30. Alternatively, there are available rides from Pisa Centrale but, in most cases, you need to stop in Lucca to change trains, even if some go directly to Barga. The cost is €5. 90 for both solutions, that will take you about 1 hour and 15 minutes or 1 hour and a half 

Car to Barga

If you prefer the freedom and flexibility of having your own transportation, using your own, or renting a car is a great option for getting to Barga. From Pisa Airport, you can take the A11 freeway towards Florence and then exit at Lucca Est. From there, follow the signs for Barga (SS12). The drive takes approximately one hour. 

Rent a car Tuscany

Rent a car Tuscany

The best way to experience Tuscany is to rent your own car! We recommend booking well in advance using price comparison sites like rental cars if traveling in the peak summer season.

Best things to do in Barga

Fun Facts About Barga

  • A touch of Scotland: Many people don’t know, but Barga has also been named as “The most Scottish town in Italy.” In the 20th century, a remarkable number of Barga residents were people who emigrated from Scotland for work. Today, about half of Barga’s population has Scottish heredity. Barga even organizes a weekend once a year which is dedicated to celebrate the Scottish part of the town, called the Festa Scozzese
  • A QR code pioneer: In 2008, Barga became the first medieval town in Italy to comprehend cutting-edge technology. They actually mapped their entire historic center including the churches, palaces, statues, restaurants, and other landmarks with QR codes. So next time you’re in Barga, your phone can be your personal historical guide
  • Pascoli’s muse: The famed Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli wasn’t just a resident of Barga; he was deeply inspired by it. From 1895 to 1912, Bargaserved as his muse, influencing many of his poems. Today, his former residence is a museum dedicated to his life and works
  • Barga has a Swiss influence: Barga is historically tied to Switzerland since the 15th century, when it became part of the Swiss Confederacy. Since then the Swiss rule left its mark on the architecture, language and culture of Barga that can be seen even today. Notice the town’s streets and colorful houses with pointed roofs, for example. There are also many festivals and traditions reflecting the Swiss influence. 

The Barga Castle

Barga castle

Barga’s castle, located on the top of a hill, offers a great view of the traditional village and its surroundings. Do not miss the chance to wander in it and learn about its rich history. Imagine the old days, when knights were patrolling the walls and gates, and several families resorted there for protection. Except for that, its location is ideal to have  a panoramic view of the nearby environment and take some unforgettable photos. On a clear day, you might have the opportunity to admire the Apuan Alps as well. Do not worry that you will get bored, since the castle still hosts some events, exhibitions, and performances dedicated to the history and culture. Cool right? Overall, it is a must-see for every visitor.  

The Conservatory of S. Elisabetta

The Conservatory of S. Elisabetta was originally a 15th-century monastery for isolated nuns. It was in 1788 when Pietro Leopodo, the Grand Duke transformed it into a conservatory for girls ‘ education to learn, and it actually changed the role of the women back in those days. Take a moment to admire its cultural beauty. It might not be easily detected but the mix of the monastery with the conservatory makes it an actual work of art. Some paintings, sculptures, and artworks still show the religious part of it. A notable element is the altarpiece of Della Robbia and a cross of the 15th century. The entrance is free since it operates more as a conservatory and less as a museum but there might be a price based on each event that takes place. 


The historic Barga’s center displays a protected hill known as Arringo, the town’s small Acropolis. A large open space surrounded by high walls that contain the Romanesque duomo of St. Christopher and the Praetorian Palace, the structure where the building where parliament would meet. Each corner of Arringo offers a stunning view of Barga’s nearby landscape. Since the Arringo is part of the town itself, there are no gates or barriers restricting access, and therefore no fees are involved. 

Porta Reale

Porta Reale - Barga

Porta Reale is also known as Porta Mancianella, and it stands as a gateway to the charming town of Barga. This historic gate, enhanced with a distinctive tower, has witnessed centuries of Barga’s rich history, serving as a prior point of entry and defense. Notice the intricate details, such as the coat of arms above the archway, adding a touch of grandeur to this historic landmark. 

Loggia del Podestà

Barga - Loggia del Podestà

Loggia del Podestà is a historic landmark in the heart of Barga. A 14th-century municipal structure reserving an audience haul and the old prisons. Admire the elegant style of the Loggia del Podestà, a matching blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles. The loggia’s open arcade, supported by graceful arches, provides a welcoming entrance to the loggia’s interior. Take a look at the details, such as the coat of arms of the Podestà family adorning the facade. Today, the area houses the town’s civic museums, which have an entrance ticket at the price of 4 euros. The museum is open  from Thursday to Sunday, from 10.30 am to 12.30 am and 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm in Summer, but you will have to book a reservation in Winter. 

Collegiate Church of San Cristoforo

Barga Cathedral

The Collegiate Church of San Cristoforo is known as the Duomo di Barga. This majestic monument, built with white marble from nearby pits, stands as a testament to the town’s artistic and religious heritage. The Collegiate Church of San Cristoforo has witnessed centuries of Barga’s history. Weddings, baptisms, and funerals have taken place within its walls. The church shows a fascinating blend of styles, reflecting its long history. Romanesque elements like the strong pillars and semi-circular arches provide a sense of solidity. Look upwards and admire the Gothic influence in the arched roof and stained-glass windows, filtering in rays of colorful light. 

Fondazione Giovanni Pascoli

Giovanni Pascoli is a structure known of the life of the Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli and the work he had done there. The establishment is a valuable find for history enthusiasts, and anyone seeking to search through the rich world of Pascoli’s artistry. Giovanni Pascoli lived there, for his last ten years of life. The rooms of the residence, where the famous poet wrote his masterpieces have now transformed into a museum for the visitors to experience his life. To enter the building will cost you 8 euros. If you are with a small group with about 10 people, the price comes to 5 euros. You can visit the building all week except Monday. 

La Cantina del Vino

Barga, La Cantina del Vino

La Cantina del Vino is a great place to go if you are looking for a wide selection of wines and local products. They also have a great atmosphere and are well-informed about wine. It is run by Francesca, Pietro, and Edoardo, who are all qualified sommeliers. They offer a wide range of fine wines and local products, as well as alfresco dining in the summer months. Prices for wine vary depending on the bottle or glass you choose. Bottles range from €6.00 to €20.00 or more, while glasses range from €4.50 to €7.00. This establishment offers a range of dining options to suit your budget like a fixed menu starting at 19 euros in Winter or an à la carte allowing you to choose your meal. Expect a total cost per person between €15.00 for a light meal to £58.50 or more for a multi-course option with drinks. 

Church of San Francesco

The Church of San Francesco is also known as the Chiesa di San Francesco. It was built between 1471 and 1490, at the side of a hillThe interior of the Upper Church is an important early example of the Gothic style in Italy. The church is decorated with several wall paintings by Andrea della Robbia and his sons, besides the 15th-century cloister at the entrance. 

Chiesa del Santissimo Crocifisso

Barga - Chiesa Santissimo Crocifisso-Complesso

Chiesa del Santissimo Crocifisso is another, smaller, church in Barga used as shelter by the Franciscans who had contracted the plague. Even if it is not ascertained, it is said that was built in the 15th century. While information about this particular church is limited compared to other notable churches in Italy, its charm and significance within the Barga community remain undeniable.

Pro Loco Barga

At the center of the town takes place the Pro Loco Barga, a non-profit organization occupied with the promotion and preservation of Barga’s unique heritage. Pro Loco Barga has played a vital role in shaping the town’s tourism landscape. With a passion for the town’s traditions and a commitment to showcasing its beautiful places, Pro Loco Barga serves as a crucial resource for both locals and visitors alike. This organization not only offers information to visitors but also hosts several events in order to spread the culture of the town. 

Casa della befana

Barga - La Casina Della Befana

Organizing a day trip at Casa della Befana is a great option to spend the day. Legend says that la Befana is a very old woman, over 3000 years old. Back in the day, she was frowned upon by the Church and even mistaken for a witch. Somehow, though, she always remained in children’s hearts. Today, her house is located in the mountains of Garfagnana. A perfect opportunity to be visited by families and not only. We were told that people often leave her a glass of wine and a plate of sausage and broccoli because that’s what she would like. 

Chiesa della Santissima Annunziata

The Chiesa della Santissima Annunziata is a church also called the Church of the Holy Annunciation. It is located in the center of Barga and was built in 1595. Two revered wooden statues, the Archangel Gabriel and the Annunciation of Mary, combined with the churches’ elegant style offer a calming visit. The opening hours might vary depending on the season. You can always get informed by the Pro Loco Barga though. As the majority of the churches in Italy, Chiesa Della Santissima Annuziata has also free entrance. 

The Red Telephone Box Library

Barga - The red Telephone Box

The idea of the Red Telephone Box transformed into a library is a fantastic idea for Barga with its links to Scotland. This little immaculately kept phone box originating from the UK and actually made in Scotland by Carron is now a well-used tiny library. You can take books there, which are no longer needed, and give books that you have already read. It was given to the people of Barga by an Italian Family living in Edinburgh who enjoyed coming to the area on holiday. This library functions as a book exchange, encouraging the spirit of sharing and community, therefore, there’s no commercial aspect involved. 

Parco Avventura Levigliese

Parco Avventura Levigliese is a park located in Garfagnana, Italy. It offers a majority of activities for adults and children as well. There are courses containing obstacles and challenges between the trees. People have to find balance by walking on a rope and using a systematic way to finish each challenge. Zip lining, rock climbing, and canoeing are also some activities that can be tried out. The park is open from 10:00 to 18:00 every day, and the prices differ depending on each activity. They range from €5.00 to €35.00 per person, while some package deals bundle activities like zip lines for a more complete experience, starting at €30.00. 


Semmocolonia is a beautiful little village located on a hilltop just a few kilometers from Barga in Tuscany. There are no bars or cafés in the village itself, which makes it a perfect spot for a relaxing walk amidst the graphic surroundings and stunning views of Barga. Even if the information is limited, it is said that Semmocolonia has a connection to World War II. You can explore the amazing view and some memorials built to honor locals and US soldiers who lost their lives at war. There is a specific memorial dedicated to Lt. John Fox. 

Teatro dei Differenti

Teatro dei Differenti is a theater with a long history, starting in 1668. It was created by the Accademia dei Differenti which was a society aiming to promote their love for theater. It was in 1785 when this academy established the foundation for the theaters’ construction. Soon, it became very popular for its performances including comedies, operas, etc. Due to its deterioration, it was finally demolished but rebuilt in 1808. Today is still standing in Barga, offering exhibitions, performances, and concerts. You can reach the theater on foot from the town center, and the ticket’s price depends on the performance. In general, keep in mind that they range from 18  to 25 euros. 

Barga market

Barga hosts a flea market every second Sunday of the month in the center of the town. It might sound like a usual market, but it is a no-miss since it does not only contain local crafts and handicrafts but also traditional Tuscan antiques and collectibles. If you are a history lover, or you just want to buy souvenirs to remember this trip, this market is worth a visit. Since its purpose is for visitors to shop, you don’t have to worry about a ticket entrance. However, it is suggestible to have cash instead of the card in every case if you want to purchase anything. 

Serchio valley

The Serchio Valley and the Devil's Bridge - Barga

Serchio Valley is a beautiful area in Tuscany in which Barga is located. It is a huge tourist destination since it has many plants and animals to admire. The flora, as it is called, is the plants in the area like beeches, poplars, and chestnut trees are very common. The latter usually bloom at the beginning of summer and the flowers transform into burs where the chestnuts grow in the autumn. This nut is used a lot in the kitchen for both savory and sweet recipes. Additionally to that, there is fauna, and animals wandering in the area like foxes, boars, deer, and wolves that live in the mountain area of Barga and often come down to the valley looking for something to eat. 

Where to eat in Barga

Barga, Tuscany

Barga offers plenty of options that align with every visitor. You can either have dinner in elegant restaurants, or traditional cuisine, or even try their street food. Every decision has its own charm.

Da Aristo Di Togneri Lorenzo: This is a local restaurant, offering delicious Tuscan and Italian food combined with its warm atmosphere. It is Located in Piazza Salvi, 6 and there is an outdoor area in the warm months to admire the view. The cost per person there is about 20 euros.  

L’ Osteria – Barga: This restaurant is another highly rated option, known for its Tuscan cuisine containing grilled meats, pasta, and local cheeses. It is located in Piazza Angelio 13 and is open from Sunday to Wednesday. The menu varies based on the ingredients’ availability and the cost per person is approximately from 15 to 32 euros.  

Scacciaguai: This restaurant is for anyone seeking a more elegant experience. Obtaining the Italian philosophy with a friendly, warm atmosphere, Scacciaguai offers the ultimate experience in Barga. It is, however, a more expensive option,  meaning that the cost per person there, ranges from 30 to 50 euros.  

Ristorante Pizzeria Da Sandra: This is an alternative option for someone who enjoys classic Italian food. This restaurant offers pizzas, pasta and delicious salads as well. A more low-priced option, still maintaining the good quality of the Italian cuisine. 

Where to Stay in Barga

Barga offers a majority of places to stay, even if you are seeking a historic place or a luxurious apartment, this town has got your back!

Albergo Moderno: This is a hotel built in 1882, obtaining a historic and elegant decoration, making you feel like living in the past. It offers very comfortable rooms, excellent Italian cuisine and a beautiful garden. A thing that cannot be  neglected is the fact of how friendly the staff is and how clean they obtain the hotel. The prices per person differ on the season.  

Villa Moorings Hotel: A more luxurious option for spending your holidays at Barga. This hotel offers an elegant stay with detailed decoration in every corner. Guests can enjoy a delicious breakfast, a refreshing outdoor pool, and a beautiful terrace overlooking the surroundings. 

Il Cavatappi: A more budget-friendly option with comfortable rooms and a welcoming atmosphere. It is ideal for someone seeking accommodation while exploring this medieval town, obtaining all the amenities. 

Barga, Tuscany

Best time to visit Barga

The best time for someone to visit Barga depends on their personal preferences. If seeking a quiet and calm vacation, the Spring and Autumn months are the best for you. Hiking and wandering through the medieval town and its surroundings with a pleasant temperature will make your experience unforgettable. Of course, these seasons are also the best for  

outdoor dining and a good opportunity to do wine tasting combined with the stunning view. On the other hand, Summer offers more events, outdoor concerts, open-air markets, and the Barga Jazz Festival. It is in general the high season for Barga. But keep in mind that it is not only very crowded but also more expensive. 

Barga, Tuscany

FAQ - Barga

Is Barga worth visiting? 

Barga offers a charming historic town, delicious Tuscan cuisine, beautiful surroundings, and unique experiences. If you are an explorer loving outdoor adventures, an Italian cuisine lover, and seeking a quiet escape, Barga has something to offer. 

Are there any free things to do in Barga?

There are plenty of free things to do in Barga, like hiking, exploring the town, walking through the walls, visiting churches or even enjoying events and concerts. All it takes is a bit of planning.

Is Barga easy to get around? 

Exploring Barga on foot is the best option for someone, especially since it is a very small town. Alternatively, using a bike is also a rewarding experience. 

Are there any festivals or events happening in Barga during my visit?

Most of the events are being held during Summer. However, there are also, food and art events held in Spring and Autumn. You can always check the social or do a little online searching depending on the time you are visiting. 

What are some traditional dishes or local specialties I should try in Barga?

Barga offers many traditional dishes worth trying. Some of them are Necci meaning thin pancakes made from chestnut flour, enjoyable with sides or plain. Torta di Cecco is a savory pie with a pastry crust filled with rice, potatoes, vegetables, and sometimes sausage. It’s a hearty and flavorful dish perfect for a main course. Zuppa Barghigiana is a rustic soup made with cannellini beans, seasonal vegetables, and a rich tomato base ideal for the cold months. 

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