If the conditions are right and you are in the right place at the right time, it is possible twice a year to see the doppio tramonto – the double sunset. This is when the sun drops down behind the mountains and then shines through the natural arch of the Monte Forato.
This eagerly awaited event generally draws a crowd at the Duomo as they wait for sun to dip below the horizon, only to re-appear seconds later. For the last three days there have been people waiting to catch a glimpse of the doppio tramonto as the sun edged closer and closer to the hole. Today was the big day where everything lined up perfectly.[nggallery id=105] It was all over in seconds though as the sun dipped below the horizon to appear again briefly through the hole and then was gone once more.
The small crowd then dispersed leaving the piazza outside the Duomo deserted apart from two lone swallows swooping over the houses.
These harbingers of the spring arrived yesterday and are either very, very early, have lost their way or have decided to end it all in Barga as another cold snap with destroy any chance of available food for them to survive…. strange days indeed. An image of one of these swallows can be found here
Looking at the sun with the naked eye is not to be recommended* and so local people have found other methods to get round that problem …. looking at the sunset through the filter of a scarf for instance. Image from the barganews archives 2005
*please note the guy with the binoculars was NOT looking towards the sun