If you enjoyed the previous post about Northern Tuscany, here comes its second part! We will go more inland from the coast this time and I will take you to the other towns we visited and loved here: Camaiore, Lucca, and Barga. But again, loaded with pictures – enjoy! And if you haven’t read the first part, you can find it here.
On our way to Lucca, Mario recommended we pass by the historic town of Camaiore which lies in a valley at the foot of the Apuan mountains. The walled historic center is nothing big although the municipality is one of the biggest in Versilia or Northern Tuscany. We were here on Tuesday and it was pretty calm and we could indulge in the local life. That day there was an antique market and we had a long Italian-Spanish chat with one of the sellers, a very kind guy who had a big passion for photography and had to think of his photography adventures when he saw us walking and taking pictures. He then gave us a little present, a tiny ceramic cup that symbolized the region. We did not understand every word (our Italian is very poor and he did not understand my broken Spanish either) but it seems to me that sometimes hands and big smiles speak more than thousands of words…
As well as Camaiore, Lucca is also located at the foot of the Apuan Alps, not very far from the coast. It is one of the most loved Tuscan towns to visit which can be done in a day. Despite its age and changes through the centuries, the historic center is still surrounded by a wall and is full of old buildings in pretty yellow, red, and ochre colors. Some of them date back to the medieval age, but there are also remains of the Roman amphitheater. We really enjoyed that day here, in its beautiful old walled city center! Worth saying that is easy to navigate through its streets as it is not a hilly town.
The end of the day here was a little scary when we literally ran away back to the car before the storm which left half of the city without electricity, to make the experience a bit more adventurous. At home, we noticed that Adeline also enjoyed Lucca very much as she got a little souvenir: a cutlery pocket from the restaurant where we had the delicious dinner – my apologies!
On the day we left Il Paradiso, we drove to Emilia Romagna where we would then spend the last days of the holidays. And we remembered that one village, Mario spoke about an absolute jewel in the region. It was Barga, and we noticed it was on our way to Modena, so we made a half-day stop there. And I was so happy we did, as this was our absolute favorite from Northern Tuscany!
Shortly upon arrival, we agreed that Mario’s enthusiasm about Barga was real. It was very pretty. Barga is a hilly town, with a majestic old church on the top of the hill, offering fantastic views into the surrounding hilly landscapes. It plays all shades of orange and pink colors, with plants and other floral decorations in the tiny streets. We were sitting in a cafe for a drink and a little bite, when it turned out there was a christening of a book about Versilia.
An interesting fact: We learned after that there is a strong connection with Scotland because, at the end of the 19th century, many Italians from Barga emigrated to Scotland, some of them came back and some stayed. But these days, more than half of the inhabitants claim they have Scottish relatives, who come to visit them, especially during the summer months. And there is even a Scottish week being organized each year in September!
On the way from Seravezza to Barga, we passed by a place with a view of a charming little village with a church lost in the middle of the mountains, Google said it was Isola Santa. It seemed some people were even taking a dip in the river that flooded through the tiny village. Unfortunately, we did not have time enough to stop by here but we noted it down for any potential next time in the region.