A day in the Garfagnana

One full day to explore the area gave us just enough time to visit a few places. It was warm (which equates to hot for the dogs), so keeping that in mind, the plan was such that as the day wore on, the further into the mountains we would go.

Photo of Barga taken outside of town

First stop: Barga. One of many medieval cities and home of the Fish & Chips Festival and Barga Jazz Festival. The views from the Duomo are beautiful, but the view of Barga itself from the city perimeter is even better.

Fortezza delle Verrucole - La Rocca Tonda
Fortezza delle Verrucole in San Romano di Garfagnana

If only those walls could talk. The centuries-old fortress, or what remains of it, has seen its share of attacks, human suffering, and life as it was within its impregnable position. The name Verruccole comes from the word verruca, or wart, owing to the rocky terrain on which the fortress sits. A guided visit (in italian, less than 30 minutes) gave an idea of what it was like to exist in such austere conditions. Nothing was wasted. I recall the guide telling us that excrement was used as “ammunition”. Gives new meaning to the phrase “Eat my shit!”

Ponte della Maddalena
Ponte della Maddalena, also known as The Devil’s Bridge

Medieval bridge in Borgo a Mozzano. The devil sure gets around and legend says that he made a deal to build the bridge (in one single night) in exchange for the first soul to cross over. I’ve heard this story before and it’s always a dog that gets to be the first. That just bites.

Hitching the ponies

This is almost obligatory in medieval towns – hitching our ponies to the wall.


9 thoughts on “A day in the Garfagnana

  1. Anne Arnott

    Hi Rowena I have not been to Barga but it has been on my list for a while , Is it in the direction of Lucca or am I in the wrong direction all together? I think I will have to persuade hubby to take a long long break and tour Italy, thanks for sharing.


    1. Rowena Post author

      Yes it’s in the Lucca province. Lovely area, and I look forward to a return visit, perhaps a bit longer the next time since we didn’t have time to visit Lucca itself.


    1. Rowena Post author

      I read somewhere that a big festival is held at the bridge on Halloween. The rest of the legend says that the Devil (in the form of that poor dog) is seen on the bridge, searching for that human soul… 👿



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