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Barcis, the village, the lake and the memory of water

the village, the lake and the memory of water

31 August 2021

A green and blue dream

The village of Barcis opens up like a smile, a green-blue expanse of water and sky. Entry to the valley, located in the Nature Reserve of the Friulian Dolomites (Parco Naturale delle Dolomiti Friulane), is in fact from the mouth of a canyon, where rugged rocks and steep sides plunge down into the river Cellina. With its imposing vertical walls and striking effects of fluvial erosion, Valcellina offers one of the most spectacular panoramas in Italy. However, the exceptional feature of the village that lingers on in the mind is that of Lake Aprilis also known as Lake Barcis, whose emerald waters reflect soaring peaks and sky: an unadulterated landscape of peace and beauty with an atmosphere and light that are unique.
A lovely lakeside walk is enlivened by the sounds of nature, the rustle of the trees and the chirping of the birds. The views over the valley and the spectacles of light whatever the hour are unforgettable, a memory of water that remains in your eyes and in your heart.
The main square of Barcis houses Palazzo Centi, which dates back to around the 17th century. The majestic double loggia along the façade, with its segmental arches at ground floor level and round arches on the upper level, combines the typical elements of the rustic style of Valcellina with those of Venetian architecture. It was built in natural stone, a material typical of the area, together with a compound called Tof in the Friulian dialect. The façade is embellished by decorative carved grotesques. The building currently serves as the reception of a multi-building Hotel comprising a number of typical houses in stone and wood, which have been modernised and fitted out with all comforts. The Church of San Giovanni Battista (John the Baptist) – the village’s patron saint - can also be found in the historic centre. It was probably built in the 18th century on the site of a previous building thought to date back to the 16th century. At the end of the single nave is a Baroque style main altar in marble with white lacquered statues of Saints Peter and Paul to the sides. A fresco depicting the Banquet of Salome and the Beheading of John the Baptist can be admired in the Presbytery.
A stroll around the village will give you the opportunity to see wooden sculptures made by local artists and wood carvers.
Barcis has also been named “Reading Village”: you can take books to read from the special library-logs - a must in the shade of a tree embraced by the magical atmosphere of the lake.

Cucina locale, piatti tipici, curiosità

Local Valcellina dishes have the flavours of traditional ‘poor man’s’ food but with a new twist. Polenta, preferably white, cheeses and Alpine pasture dairy products, cured meats and game. The star of the assortment of smoked cured meats is Pitina, in the Peta and Petuccia versions: a semi-circular smoked meatball mixed with spices and aromatic herbs. A Barcis speciality is “i ras” - white turnip with which pastiç (fermented turnip and pork ribs) is prepared. “Frico” (a sort of cheese pancake) is a must. Other specialties are Barcis beans and “tegoline sot sal” also known as “fasoi da la cita” (salted green beans); herb omelette and “pan de çasa” – an unleavened flat bread with special flavourings whose recipe is jealously guarded by a few local inhabitants.

Dove mangiare in compagnia
di Acqua San Benedetto

Restaurant Locanda con cucina La serenissima, Barcis (PN)

Walk over the Tibetan bridge or plunge into the lush green of nature

For those who love nature and the mountains, the surroundings of Lake Barcis offer countless routes that can be followed on foot or by bike. These trails are like a true map, offering outstanding trips in the midst of nature. The Sentiero degli Alpini is an easy route around the shores of the lake and takes about two hours, as does the Sentiero del Dint, which has thematic information boards along the path and offers views over the Barcis valley, the Gorge or Canyon and the old Valcellina road. The Grotte della Vecchia Diga (Old Dam Caves) track is also worth a trip, but the place which will without doubt utterly captivate you is the walk over the Tibetan Bridge: a unique view along the canyon, the distinctive overhanging ravines merging one into another, sculpted by the waters of the river Cellina over the centuries. And for those who love water sports, the waters of Lake Barcis offer the possibility of sailing, canoeing, surfing, kayaking, fishing, scuba diving as well as hovercraft or motorboat events.

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