Head into the hills of Lucca and you’ll find Barga, a medieval Tuscan town known for its excellent tourist amenities, 10th-century walls, beauty and artistic importance. The Teatro dei Differenti and Casa Pascoli are its main historic attractions, linked to the poet Giovanni Pascoli. The area’s cuisine focuses on dishes prepared with local ingredients of trout, mushrooms and chestnuts and fishing is a mainstay of its outdoor activities, as is hiking in the nearby Apuan Alps. And if you’re here in summer, you may be able to catch the town’s Jazz Festival. Here are our favourite hotels.
Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa
Spanning 1700 acres of the Serchio Valley and set into the hillside, the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort overlooks the town itself. An outdoor pool terrace with loungers provides spectacular views, while inside, there’s a further pool as part of the wellness area. The building is a pretty, pink, traditional style villa with shuttered windows. Interiors and 180 bedrooms are decorated in a warming contemporary Italian design, using plush fabrics and earthy colours. Meals can be taken al fresco on the sun-soaked terrace of La Veranda, with regular theme nights offered and drinks can be enjoyed in the Nour Lounge.
A former noble’s residence, this five-century old villa is now a romantic hotel close to the village of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. The country estate encompasses forestry, gardens and a waterfall. Rooms evoke the building’s heritage, with oil paintings, ornate wooden four-poster beds, antique furnishings, heavy drapes, chandeliers and a Regency colour scheme. And in addition to the main villa, there’s a farmhouse containing three apartments — for those wanting a little more private space. Its location provides plenty of opportunities to explore the native parkland and take a dip in the seasonal outdoor pool. Warm Italian hospitality and delicious home baking await the guests at Villa Bertagni.