Every November for the past six years we have been publishing a story pointing out that the bars and restaurants in Barga Vecchia all seem to shut at the same time and getting something to eat or even just a coffee in the city becomes very difficult or on certain days, even impossible.
Last year we finished the article with the following words: “any visitor arriving in Barga Vecchia this morning will have their choice on just where to eat drastically cut down as many of the bars and restaurants were shut. For a city hoping to base a good part of its future on sensible tourism, this is not a good message we are giving out.
Hopefully this will be the last time that this article will have to be published on barganews – somebody please, please take note and lets start discussions about this problem.”
Twelve months later and it would appear that absolutely nothing has changed as you can see from the images – many bars and restaurant in Barga Vecchia were shut today.
On the positive side, the fact that the bars and restaurants are taking their annual holidays in November is an improvement and a sign of change compared to how Barga used to be, say 10 or 15 years ago. In those years, the tourist season was very short and more or less covered just July and August. In September, the restaurants and bars would shut as many of the owners took their summer holidays on the beaches of nearby Viareggio and Forte di Marmi.
As the tourist boom started to pick in Barga with many more visitors coming to the city, the season expanded to include June, September and a good part of October and so shutting their businesses during those months meant losing a good deal of trade.
For the past couple of years the Baristi and Restaurateurs have moved their holidays into the slack month of November allowing them a well earned rest before the hectic Christmas, New Year and Befana season. The beaches of Viareggio and Forte di Marmi are cold, windy and deserted during November and so many started taking advantage of the cheap air flights on offer out of season and going to sunnier climes out of Italy.
On the negative side, there seems to be no mechanism in place to stagger their holidays so that at least a few more bars or restaurants are open in Barga Vecchia during certain days in November
Piazza Angelio, which has been a hive of activity right through the summer from Easter onwards, is now almost deserted as Riccardo from L’Osteria has shut up shop and gone off to holiday in sunnier climes. He will be back the first week in December (full article and interview with Riccardo here)
In Piazza Salvo Salvi the situation is no better with Capretz shut as Beppe and Laura take a well earned rest and the unofficial cultural centre of Barga – Aristo’s is shut for the next few days as Marino takes a breather.
The Gelateria that has been working right through the summer is taking a break for the winter season, opening up again in December for the Barga Chocolate Festa.
Luckily the Scacciaguai was open for business, so too was the Altana but just to make it slightly difficult they did have a closed sign on the open door and just down the road we found an open sign in the Mordimi restaurant which was unfortunately firmly closed.
Paolo Gas just outside the main gates of Barga Vecchia is open for business but Trattoria da Riccardo is shut for holidays from the 3rd to the 21st November.