One unique activity that you can do in Garfagnana is explore the Grotta del Vento or “Windy Cave” named for the strong air currents that flow through it. Home to intricate ancient limestone rock formations, stalactites and stalagmites, it is located in the middle of the Apuan Alps natural park underneath the Pania Secca. You can choose between three different tours ranging from one hour until three (with various levels of difficulty) and all are well lit with railings. For those feeling even more adventurous there are two additional private tours that include rope descents and spotlights.
Undoubtedly the small village of Barga likely remains one of the most well-known and popular destinations in the area, a seasoned regular on the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy and a citadel dating back to the 10th century. It’s not hard to see why it is so beloved; the colorful houses and maze of narrow, cobblestones alleyways will charm any visitor upon arrival, but it is the local vibe and pleasant atmosphere that make you want to linger a little longer. One of the main attractions you definitely don’t want to miss is the Teatro dei Differenti (literally translated Theater of the Deviants), the heart and soul of the town’s theater scene.
To park, we would head to piazzale del Fosso and head into the city through Porta Reale before walking along the main drag of Via del Pretorio. You can first stop at the 15th century conservatory of S. Elisabetta and continue to the Romanesque Duomo di San Cristoforo for a great view of the surrounding countryside and town below. Don’t miss a peek inside at the wooden statue of St. Christopher, the town’s patron saint. Palazzo Pretorio is home to a civic museum for the territory where you can explore medieval and Renaissance art and a fascinating section dedicated to the paleontology around the Serchio Valley. For Andrea del Robbia fans, you can see his work inside the Church of San Francesco.
Make time to sample Barga’s local cuisine, the trota (or trout) is a local specialty often fried or served in a spicy tomato sauce, and you’ll find other delights from Garfagnana – think rich honey, everything with chestnuts, local mushrooms in local eateries in town. Keep in mind that every July there is a popular fish & chips festival (la Sagra del Pesce e Patate) a testament to the town’s strong Scottish connection and in mid-August, there is a popular Jazz festival.