From the late Middle Ages, about 1341, Barga chose to submit itself to Florence. From then until the Unification of Italy Barga experienced a golden age: the Medici family were very interested in this area due to the raw materials it provided and thus granted privileges and tax exemptions to Barga.
During the Florentine rule, Jasper was extracted in Barga. It is a tough ornamental stone composed of blood-red quartz with white veins.
The Jasper of Barga was used to decorate the Medici Noblemen’s Chapels in the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence, if you look carefully at the walls of the Medici Chapels, you can see the red colour typical of the Jasper of Barga.
Today you can visit Barga’s quarries that are still very rich in jasper. This noble material appears on the surface with seams that emerge from the rocky walls at different inclinations and in various thicknesses, colours and qualities.
Just finding the quarries, or even reaching them, can be difficult so we recommend that you either go accompanied by an expert or join one of the Pro Loco Barga organised walks.
Alternatively, you can follow “The Jasper Way” itinerary.
The Jasper Way starts in the centre of Barga in Piazza Pascoli (also called ‘il Giardino’. From here go up towards the old town, crossing the ‘Old’ bridge until you reach to the red telephone box. From here turn left and go down through Parco Kennedy and then back up the other side to reach the ancient aqueduct.
Continue along Via dell’Aquedotto following the ancient defensive wall that leads into the ‘Fornacetta’ area. After reaching the Church of Santa Maria the route continues along Via Dell’Acquedotto that follows the right-hand wall of the church. Continue along this road until you reach the ‘Buvicchia’ area. Keep to the tarmacked road of Buvicchia for about 1.4 km until you reach the start of the dirt path (signposted).
From here you descend down to the level of the Loppora stream where the jasper quarries are located.
For more information about visiting the Jasper Quarries, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
-Bibliography: Emilio Lammari, Lo stemma civico di Barga e il suo percorso storico, 2015.