To paraphrase our good friend Garrison Keillor, “It’s been a pretty quiet day in Barga, Toscana.” The sun rose early. The stalls of the Saturday market were stocked and rigged. And here and there, in the narrow sidestreets and jagged corners, a little action occurred, though most locals wouldn’t notice it.
We lived for months on these streets many moons ago, and the loud trucks made Saturday mornings restless, yet exhilarating. Not much has changed. The Rosticceria truck still has cranky ladies that make the best porketta ever. Fresh seafood from Viareggio swims in. And you can buy bras, shrooms, or socks. Cheap, yet priceless.
Schoooooooooool’s out for summer! Round here that seems to mean one thing mostly: The water war that began yesterday on the last day of school continued all day today. In the streets of Barga, NO ONE was safe. Naturally, my kids got involved, and brought the game home to Sommocolonia. The upshot? Everyone gets wet!
God bless ‘em. Those elder waterwar kids seem to be digitally free mostly, and prefer to hang out in large crowds til the last bus takes them home. Today, they were noisy, obtrusive, obnoxious, and cute as kids can be. Some of them took a fancy to my ‘Merrkun offspring. Which is to say there was no stink-eye, only googlies.
The hot spot in Barga is Scacciaguai, which means “cast your cares to the wind,“ though we preferred to pronounce it Sacajawea, until we went there, and then we were just numb and happy. Chestnut pasta? Check. Salmon in pastry with tomato pesto? Si. Tuscan sushi with risotto for rice and 6 kinds of seafood on one platter for 6 Euro? Perfetto! TripAdvisor: Take note!
Ah, summer. Barga knows how to make the most of it at their sparkling pool with mountain views, Prosecco on tap, and a staff that asks, “May I help you?” rather than, “Stop running or I call the cops!” We can dump the kids there—and a soccer field, ping-pong table, and melone con proscuitto await. (We’ll pick them up next Thursday.)
It’s too easy, sometimes, for those of us who love long-term travel to have our anticipation tempered by memories of concussions, train strikes, and mean-ass border police. This time? Piece of cake. Or should I say dolce.
The Tuscans are still among the sweetest people on earth. And for a short while, our job is to smile back and eat their cake.