Italy Chronicles new writer, David Wineman has been telling me lots surprising things about beautiful Barga in Tuscany, some of which you will discover if you read his first post Tuscany’s Scottish Connection – Barga. But there’s more, much more.
Barga, in Tuscany remember, hosts an annual fish and chip festival. This may well be the only fish and chip festival in the whole of Italy, even if having chips with fish is not that uncommon in Italy. The existence of the Barga fish and chip sagra – sagra is the Italian name given to local food festivals – owes a lot to Barga’s Scottish connections. Italians from Barga, you see, moved to Scotland where they set up ice cream and fish and chip shops, though not, as far as I know, shops selling fish and chip flavour ice cream. When some of these Italians returned to Barga, you could say they brought their fish and chips with them.
Aside from bringing fish and chips back to Barga, the Barga-Scots also ended up with a liking for that most traditional of Scottish dishes, haggis, which David Wineman tells me, can be found in Barga. Haggis in Italy! Wonders will never cease. I’m quite partial to haggis.
Talking of wonders, along with fish and chips, and haggis, plus the stunning mountain backdrop setting, visitors to Barga will have no problem coming across a wee dram, or two, of good quality Scottish whiskey. And there’s even more.
Burn’s Night in Italy
Would you believe that in the midst of Tuscany, there’s a Burn’s night bash? Well, there is. The Barga Scottish Italians even brought Rabbie Burns back to Barga! The Tuscan Burn’s night is a real riot, says David.
Almost, Perfect English
To cap it all, Barga may well be the only place in the whole of Italy where visitors will come across Italians speaking perfect English with a heavy Glaswegian accent!
One can see passing Scottish visitors nearly falling over backwards up0n being spoken to in a broad Scottish accent in the midst of Tuscany – a few wee drams of whisky may well be required to help them recover from the astonishment!
A Testing Place
I have to admit that I had not heard of Barga before David got in touch, but the more I hear about this hilltop town, the more I find it fascinating. Indeed, so fascinating is Barga, it inspired David’s partner, Jenny to write a children’s book set in the town.
Actually, I plan on pointing my English language students towards Barga so they can practice their English skills. Let’s face it, if they can understand a broad Glaswegian accent, they can most probably handle just about any English accent.
Yes, Barga is a truly astonishing place, part of which has literally been built on the fortunes of Italians who moved to Scotland and then returned bringing Scottish culture with them.
This is where Barga is:
I’m looking forward to more of David’s tales from Barga and learning about this Tuscan town has got me wondering whether Italy has any other Bargas? If you know of anywhere similar, I’d love to hear from you.