Barga Tourist Attractions
Barga (410m/1,345ft; population 11,000) fully deserves its reputation as the Garfagnana's most attractive town. During the Middle Ages the neighboring cities of Lucca, Pisa and Florence vied with one another for the fortress, possession of which gave control of the narrow Serchio Valley and protection against the aspirations of the house of Este, rulers of Modena, who had an outpost at Castelnuovo further up the valley. The Porta Reale beside the parking lot at the entrance to the ancient town center is a relic of the old fortifications - note the barca (ship) on the coat of arms above the portal.
Duomo San Cristiofano
The delightful (and thoroughly recommended) walk up through the steep, narrow alleyways of the medieval town center (centro storico) of Barga to the cathedral is rewarded with splendid views of the surrounding countryside. The rather plain facade of the three-aisled church (ninth-15th century) is characteristic of Lombard Romanesque. Above the 12th century doorway, flanked by a pair of column- borne lions, is a relief depicting the grape harvest. The outstanding feature of the interior is a lovely marble pulpit (second half of the 13th century) carved all round with reliefs of the Adoration of the Magi, the Nativity, the Annunciation and the Prophet Isaiah. It is raised on four red marble columns, two supported by lions and one by the crouching figure of a bearded man.