BargaJazz & ‘Garfagnana Contemporary’ Art


A show of ‘Garfagnana Contemporary’

This August brings the sounds of “BargaJazz” and the visuals of “Garfagnana Contemporary” to visitors to and residents of the mountainous area north of Lucca.


The BargaJazz Festival, which began as a competition for original work in 1986, remains today a crucial stepping stone for artists looking to break into the European jazz scene.  The medieval village festival features more than a dozen events in total, most of them evening concerts taking place across the town and the area, though the foundation of BargaJazz remains the competition.

Concerts of the 2023 series will be held in Barga’s Villa Mooring through August 26, with jazz sessions scheduled on August 25 and 26 in a nearby town of San Pietro in Campo.  Headlining musicians include Marc Copland, Robin Verheyen, Tino Tracanna, Marcello Tonolo and Chano Dominguez. Barga IN Jazz, one of the most anticipated days in the festival calendar when jazz truly takes over the city, has been scheduled for August 20 this year. Beginning at 5 pm, the Magicboola Brass Band leads the public through the streets of the historical center, while musicians from the Siena Jazz University using a variety of styles perform in every piazza free of charge.

The competition for original composition and arrangements takes center stage on August 25 and 26, with the Barga Jazz Orchestra with special guest Hamilton De Holanda from Brazil playing the submissions under the guidance of conductor Mario Raga. (alex harrison & rosanna cirigliano)

For more information, visit the website.


Located between valleys and mountains of Lucca, the picturesque region of Garfagnana reveals an exciting new endeavor. Combining art, community, and identity, the initiative, “Garfagnana Contemporary,” aims to showcase a series of young urban artists’s work throughout the scenic valley of Serchio Valley. 

Under the curation of Gian Guido Grassi, in collaboration with the stART Open Your Eyes association, the project has invited four influential European artists, to decorate various facades in some of Garfagnana’s most beautiful villages. Not only enhancing the heritage and beauty of the area, the murals aim to infuse contemporary art and touristic development. Grassi emphasizes the aim to preserve the identity of the region and leave a lasting artistic legacy. 

Five municipalities in the Garfagnana region are involved in the project: Fosciandora, Castiglione di Garfagnana, Gallicano, Pieve Fosciana, and Barga. The acclaimed street artist, Hitnes set the project in motion in Riana and Castiglione di Garfagnana with two significant murals incorporating identities of these regions into the work. 

In Riana, the artist drew inspiration from the local wine festival, capturing seasonal cultivation of grapes in the foreground of a blackbird. Two frogs are found hiding in the leaves, together witnessing the grapes mature as you follow your gaze down the facade. Then, wrapping around the walls of a children’s school in Castiglione di Garfagnana, the artist continued to infuse the natural environment into the project. Each side differentiates from the other, depicting a bird, a fox, and a wolf, animals commonly found in the area. 

Moreover, two exhibitions at the Galleria Comunale run in Barga until August 27. Showcasing the works of Hitnes and 108, the first exhibition explores the theme of music, with Hitnes utilizing musical scores as his canvas merging with a diverse array of birds. The artist leaves parts of the birds unfinished, allowing glimpses of the musical scores peek through, leaving parts audio and visual to harmonize. 108, on the other hand, draws from the abstract art, applying black forms with delicate lines in color, to evoke a musical composition. 

The second exhibition coming September 30, called “Io sono poesia,” features the works of Zed1 and Ericailcane, adding further artistic diversity to the cultural landscape of Barga. Following the exhibition, much like the previous artists, murals will be found the villages of Lupinaia and Cesarana ready for viewing.  

The project in fact, falls under the broader agenda of “InComune,” conceived by artists Giorgia Madiai and Kerry Bell, aiming to strengthen the artistic community living within and connected to the Serchio Valley, Garfagnana, and Lucca. As it unfolds, residents and visitors alike can explore the charming area and visit the various thought-provoking exhibitions and murals. With a seamless blend of contemporary art, cultural heritage, and natural beauty, “Garfagnana Contemporary” hopes to leave an indelible mark on the region for years to come. (Milla Elizabeth)