recently had a multi-million-pound revamp and enjoying a morning espresso on your private balcony overlooking the Serchio Valley is a treat indeed. Those in search of further relaxation can indulge themselves in the hotel’s spa, which offers the full range of treatments, as well as a sauna, steamroom and indoor pool.
The hotel is gaining quite a reputation for its food and the menu at the La Veranda restaurant is alive with seasonal local produce. Meats, fish and vegetables are cooked with a minimum of fuss, flavoured with herbs grown outside in the garden. And foodies keen to learn some of the secrets of good Tuscan cooking can enjoy a lesson from one of the chefs. Though not exactly what you’d call confident in the kitchen, my rich pork and beef ragu, served with fresh pasta made from local chestnut flour, was a triumph, even if I say so myself.
A short drive to the local organic winery offers another tantalising treat for the tastebuds. Prize-winning Podere Concori, which sits on a nine-acre site, has been perfecting the art of “slow wine” for 20 years and produces some 15,000 bottles a year. Its grapes are picked by local hands and the resulting reds and whites are sublime, best enjoyed with a simple lunch of local bread, cheese and cured meats.
As a Scot, you’ll feel particularly welcome in Barga. But don’t let the Caledonian connection distract you from the deeper, more authentic Tuscan delights; once experienced, they are never to be forgotten.
Lunch on the terrace at the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort and Spa overlooking Barga