Taking a Shufty

It’s not so much doing different things that make for variety in one’s life – it’s doing things differently that really makes the change. Yesterday was another routine day for us – carrying out errands, doing shopping and so forth but it really stood out. We were supposed to go to Genoa to see the aquarium but the early morning mists and the promised public transport strikes wisely diverted us from the train station to the market at Fornaci di Barga.

There are several markets in our valley and each one takes place on a different week-day. Here is a list of the ones most local to us:

LUCCA – S. Maria del Giudice
TURCHETTO – Piazza Nenni

P.ZA AL SERCHIO – Piazza Giovanni XXIII
BAGNI DI LUCCA – Fornoli – p.za A. Moro
GHIVIZZANO – piazza del Comune
PONTE A MORIANO – Piazza C. Battisti

LUCCA – Via dei Bacchettoni
GALLICANO – centro storico
BAGNI DI LUCCA – Fraz. Villa
PORCARI – Piazza Comune
SEGROMIGNO PIANO – Piazzale Michela Fanini
GUAMO – Via di Vorno

ALTOPASCIO – centro storico
CASTELNUOVO G. – centro storico
CAPANNORI – Marlia – Mercato
CAPANNORI – Segromigno
LUCCA – S. Maria Colle


BAGNI DI LUCCA – Fornoli – p.za A. Moro
FORNACI BARGA – Via Dante e Medi
CAPANNORI – centro – p.za A. Moro
LUCCA – Corso Garibaldi – Mercatino del Verde

LUCCA – via Bacchettoni
PORCARI – Piazza Mercato
QUERCETA – Piazza Matteotti
BAGNI DI LUCCA – Fraz. Villa
BARGA – Via Giardino
CAPANNORI – Via del Popolo

So now there’s no reason for missing out on one’s market!

The market at Fornaci di Barga is quite extensive stretching out on various streets. Especially as regards cheese, clothes and spices one is quite spoilt for choice.

Fornaci di Barga, meaning Barga furnaces (it’s just below Barga), is not the first place one rushes to sight-see when visiting the Garfagnana but it is a good shopping centre and contains some great little shops as well as such supermarkets as Eurospin and Conad.

Fornaci was first mentioned around 1000 AD and became noteworthy for its brick production. Of the kilns built only one remains standing, its chimney forming part of a Brico store which was all but destroyed by a blaze earlier this year. What an irony for a former kiln furnace to be badly damaged by fire!

Big changes took place at the turn of the last century when the Societa’ Metallurgica Italiana set up its metal works here. Thousands of new jobs were created and social housing was built, greatly expanding the town.

To cope with the increased population a new church was built in 1971 reflecting the brutalist style then in vogue (and now largely abhorred). Its copper roof was donated by the metal works which today turns out the copper middles of the one and two Euro coins for the whole of the EC.


Fornaci is the centre of the Euro whether you like it or not!

After the bargains at the market, including great winter clothing at knock-down prices when one managed to find them by shuftying about, we crossed the Serchio and reached Gallicano, another (smaller) shopping centre with what must be one of the ugliest stores in the whole valley: Leclerc.


Yet only a stone’s throw from Leclerc is the beautiful Romanesque church of Santa Lucia which seems eons away from that materialistic consumerist outlook.

An explanatory notice near this exquisite building gives something of its history.

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Santa Lucia is built to the same plan as so many churches dating from this age from Northumberland to Sicily.It has a single nave and semi-circular apse with immaculately finished stone work. I’ve never managed to get inside it – hopefully, once a year a Mass may permit one to view its interior.

Other lovely Romanesque chapels are to be seen at San Martino in Greppo on the right side of the road between Diecimo and Valdottavo and that exquisite specimen, San Biagio near Poggio.

These are just a few of the things in this part of the world that add to the most ordinary tasks that ineffable something to one’s day.

And that was just half of it . …


One thought on “Taking a Shufty

  1. Pingback: Brutal or Beautiful? | From London to Longoio (and Lucca and beyond)

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