A couple of folks recently asked about visiting Barga in the province of Lucca, Italy, or more specifically, The Renaissance Il Ciocco, which is a real hidden gem in Europe's Marriott stable. It is nestled in the Tuscan-Appenine hilltops of the Luccan countryside, and boasts spectacular valley views. It's a resort and spa with a bit of an old world feel to it, yet with added modern touches and sublime service. Il Ciocco is not in Barga itself, rather a 5km drive away. A car is definitely necessary. From Barga, it's a short journey to another charming, quaint Italian walled village, Monte Carlo. We drove over to Monte Carlo during their annual wine festival. It was really lovely. About one hour's drive southwest of Barga, is the walled medieval city of Lucca, and with it's many offerings, makes for a wonderful day trip. Barga is about a one hour 40 minute drive from Florence.
Getting there. I flew into Florence's airport, Peretola (FLR) on Lufthansa, via Frankfurt (FRA). It was easy to catch the bus into town (train station Santa Maria Novella), where I then hopped onto the light rail at Alamanni Stazione and got off a couple of very short stops later, just across the street from the AC Firenze. As I had visited Florence twice in the past, I only spent one night there, just enough time to take a stroll through the historic center and along the Arno, enjoying good memories and later, an evening meal at a favorite restaurant 4LEONI - Trattoria on the other side of the river, near Pitti Palace. The next day, my family (who flew into Rome), met up with me, and together we were away to visit the beautiful countryside of Barga.
Barga itself is a (truly) medieval town and commune. It is a village that is both beautiful and charming. With it's medieval wall, and steep, narrow cobblestone alleys, Barga is one of those real Italian towns with lots of character, and is a blast to explore. We loved walking the town both inside (above) and outside (below) the medieval wall. There are opera and jazz festivals in the summer, and wine festivals nearby as well. The other great joy of Barga for us was the food. For such a small town, there is a surprising number of great restaurants, serving up seasonal specialties that are of course locally sourced. We enjoyed as many dining spots as we could, in particular, Scacciaguai, Locanda di Mezzo and Trattoria l'Altana. And of course, there was - gelato!
A 5-night rewards stay provides the perfect length of time to enjoy a very relaxing getaway for easy recreation and exploration in this charming Italian paradise. Ahhh, Bene Barga!
Renaissance Il Ciocco
Let the fun begin
Il Ciocco, Old World Charm
Valley view from Il Ciocco suite balcony
Relaxing out on the restaurant terrace with a vino from nearby Monte Carlo
Charming village views
Easy to get lost on purpose
So much quaint, Italian eye candy
Duomo di Barga
Piazza by day
Piazza by night
Locando di Mezzo
Viviere la vita locale
Giorno della lavanderia - Laundry day!