Apr 20, 2022
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What surprises tourists “the most Scottish” city in Italy

What surprises tourists

One of the most colorful towns in Italy, Barga with a Scottish diaspora is a popular tourist destination. The traditional culture of Scotland is added to the southern sun and picturesque landscapes – festivals and celebrations with bagpipes, kilts and national dishes.

Although many tourists in this region of Tuscany are relatives or friends of the local Scots, Barga is recommended as an iconic place to visit on many travel sites.

New life after immigration. Traditional dishes and holidays

Local resident Adele Pierotti, who runs Villa Gherardi, a guesthouse located just outside the old walls of the beautiful medieval town of Barga, two hours from Florence, hosts a lunch for the townspeople every January. But the food will not be pizza or pasta, but fresh Scottish haggis – lamb’s stomach with ground giblets.

“I’m very worried that I won’t get the ingredients for this dinner on time. They are brought here directly from Scotland,” she told the British edition of Metro.
Her great-grandfather was originally from Barga, but at the end of the 19th century he left for the UK to work in a mine. There he eventually opened a restaurant in Glasgow serving fish. By the 1950s, many residents of Barga had started a new life in Scotland following a wave of immigration. Part of Adele’s family still lives in Scotland, where she was born, and spent her summer holidays in Barga with her parents. Then she moved to Italy with her husband, a native of Barga.

About 70% of the city’s population of 10,000 has ties to Scotland, Barga Mayor Caterina Campini confirms. In exile, people formed their communities, opening restaurants, but maintaining ties with Italian families. Some eventually returned.

“We are known as the most Scottish city in Italy, every September we have a Scottish week with bagpipes and Scottish country dances, an annual fish and chips festival, and we even have an official Italian tartan,” she said.
Ten years ago, the local council even asked Ryanair to start operating flights between Glasgow and neighboring Pisa.

The walled city of Barga, high in the Tuscan hills in Italy, has connections with many Scottish celebrities such as Paolo Nutini, Daniela Nardini and Nicola Benedetti.

Many locals who were forced to leave the region in the late 19th century in search of work established communities in Scotland. Now an entire generation of Scots-Italians is returning to the village their families originally called home, bringing a new culture to this corner of Italy.

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