The Duomo, part of the archdiocese of Pisa, sits on an east-west axis and inside the cathedral you can find many works of art including a 13th-century wooden statue of Saint Christopher, a 13th-century marble pulpit by Giudo Bigarelli of Como, various paintings such as the Saint Christopher by Tofanelli (18th century) and several Della Robbia earthenware works.
The original construction date is unknown but a 985 document mentions a church dedicated to Saints Christopher and James in Barga.
It was originally rectangular in shape and not very large. In the 14th century, when Barga came under the rule of Florence, the Duomo took on an important role, surpassing that of the Parish of Loppia.
From then numerous enhancements were made transforming the small original church into the monumental complex we can see today: a tall bell tower was erected over the original entrance; naves were added to bring the total from one to three; the Romanesque apse was demolished and replaced by a chapel (called the central chapel) with another two chapels added to the left (or chapel of the Madonna del Molino) and the right (that houses three Della Robbia works) of the first.
Between the 16th and 17th century there was a substantial increase in the number of altars in the church, reaching a peak of 14 in the 18th century.
Over the centuries the complex was repeatedly restored. The last major intervention followed the devastating earthquake that struck the area in 1920.
On the right doorpost of the main entrance, at the top, you can see a strange message that has as yet remained undeciphered.
– adapted from Il Duomo di Barga, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Tipografia Pecchi, 2007 and Lino Lombardi, All’ombra del Duomo di Barga, Tipografia Gasperetti, 1986