Barga, Italy

30 x 40cm
Helen Bellany


Watercolour on paper

‘On our first trip into Barga … keen to try out my pigeon Italian in shops, I would stumble out my pathetic shopping requests only to be answered by kindly voices: ‘Is it bread you’re wantin’ hen?’ Thus we discovered that we had put down roots near to ‘the most Scottish town in Italy’. … That same voice asking if we wanted bread would immediately turn to someone else and continue a rapid conversation in fluent Italian. The place was through and through Italian but with an extra dimension that … enhanced our sense of the history of the place and introduced an awareness of the heroism that was the essence of the Barga-Scottish connection.

‘It was a story of hardship, poverty and hunger that in the earlier part of the twentieth century had inspired the wave of emigration from the area. …’  – Helen Bellany, The Restless Wave (pp332-3)