At the foot of the hill on which stands the castle of Barga lies the town of Fornaci, the commercial centre of the area.
The town owes its name to lime and brick kilns (fornaci in Italian) that could once be found in the area but that have now gradually disappeared. You can still see some traces of this industrial past in the abandoned brick chimney that has been converted into a shop.
The town is believed to have been founded in the 16th century, aided by its strategic position connecting Barga, Lucca and the Garfagnana. At the end of the 19th century, Fornaci was still a small urban centre with a few houses scattered across the plain between the Barga hill on the one side and the Serchio river on the other.
The real breakthrough for Fornaci arrived with World War I and the opening of the Italian Metallurgical Society (Società Metallurgica Italiana – SMI) that produced shells and cartridges. After the war, the company converted to the production of copper and alloys and then in the late 90’s and early 2000’s it was used as a mint for euro coins; for this reason and Fornaci is also known as ‘the town where the Euro is born’.
Fornaci is distributed mainly along Via della Repubblica, where you can find many shops, restaurants, bars and much more.
Fornaci also has a railway station just 2 minutes’ walk from the centre, making it very easy to reach even for those who do not have a car.
-Adapted from: Guida alle architetture e ai paesaggi della Media Valle del Serchio
-Photo by: Giovanni Chiesa, on wikipedia.org