My wife Marijke and I have spent many years working and travelling in Europe, the Americas, Asia and New Zealand. Our plan, upon retiring, was to set up a B&B in Italy, offering as hosts the best of the hospitality we've experienced as guests in our travels.
We spent ten months looking for the right location, and we think we found it in Barga (province of Lucca, Tuscany). The house we bought and restored, on a slope overlooking the old town and the Apuan Alps, is only 1.5 km away from the centre of Barga, and benefits from a spectacular view over the 1000 year old Barga Cathedral and the Pania della Croce mountain.
The property includes the house proper, where we live and serve breakfast, a garden, an olive grove and 4 terraces. There is also the 'Capanno', a stone building nearby where 2 of the B&B rooms are situated, one of which is the Bellavista unit. The Bellavista has a double bed, an ensuite bathroom, private entrance and terrace as well as a kitchenette for guests wishing a self-catering arrangement. Satellite TV and Wi-Fi connection are equally available. Imagine sipping a drink while you watch the sun setting behind Monte Forato (the Mountain-with-a-hole, an attraction on its own) and later taking a stroll to Barga Vecchia and enjoy dinner in one of the Restaurants serving genuine Garfagnana dishes. Walking to Barga Centre will take 20 min over a scenic route along a small paved road with no traffic. If you are too tired for that, you can drive there in 3 min.
Barga offers a unique combination for lovers of Nature (a well maintained network of mountain trails: Monte Giovo, Lago Santo, Monte Forato...), of History/Art (Duomo di Barga, Fortezza delle Verrucole...), of Gastronomy (Prosciutto Bazzone, Funghi Porcini,...) and of Music (Barga Jazz Festival, Valle del Serchio Opera Festival...).
My personal top three attractions in Barga:
1. Hike to Monte Forato, the mountain with the hole ( 2 hrs walk)
2. Get your feet wet in the Orrido di Botri canyon (2 hrs walk)
3. Visit the old Via Pascoli bakery (Regiobello) on Saturday morning (pane di patate: a medieval scent that will take you back a few hundred years in time).
We are looking forward to meet nice and interesting people from all over the world, thus in a way continuing our travels and deepening our understanding of other Cultures.
If you have never been in this part of Tuscany, we'll be glad to share our experience of it with you.
Please visit our website if you want to learn more about our B&B and about dates available for booking. As we have just opened, right now many dates are still available, and we would advise you take advantage of this! Note that besides the Bellavista Room the B&B has 2 more rooms available, please ask for more information.
Note that we'll be closed from October to March.
Keywords: B&B, self catering, mini-apartments, hiking, walking, nature, view, mountains, medieval town, gastronomy, Tuscany, mushrooms, wine, olive oil, globetrotters, cooking corses