I love this word. It means good luck charm, or chase / sweep your troubles away. This is a scacciaguai.


It is on the wall just around the corner from the entrance to a restaurant named Scacciaguai in Barga.

The restaurant is run by 2 brothers and I think it is very good. I have been a few times and have had delicious food and good service each time.


Scacciaguai restaurant


Now for the food.

ScacciaguaiScacciaguaiScaggiaguaiScacciaguaiScacciaguaiScacciaguaiThey very kindly offer instructions on how to sweep away your troubles. Make the horns with your index finger and your little finger and poke the eyes of the Scacciaguai.


I should be OK now.



Via di Mezzo 25,

Barga. (39) 0583 711368

For more on scacciaguai read My Kitchen Witch.

20 thoughts on “Scacciaguai

  1. Very interesting articles! I have been thinking and thinking, as I have seen quite a few of those faces in the past and not only in Northern Tuscany. They are to be found in Germany and Scandinavia and suddenly the possibility of a common link came to my mind. The Lombards! They wee a Germanic tribe, originally from Scandinavia and they ruled parts of Italy, particularly Northern Tuscany for a couple of centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire. Actually, in Colognora they still speak their language. So I would say that it is an old pagan tradition that came from the North which has survived through all these centuries. People are always looking for something that will bring good luck…
    The restaurant looks great! Thank you for the recommendation, Debra!

    • I think you are right about the Lombard connection. Many of the faces of the scacciaguai I saw in Garfagnana reminded me of some of the images from Lombard stonework found in the archaeological museum in Lucca. Glad to see someone else saw the same connection. I didn’t know about the Lombard language was still spoken in Colognora… very interesting.

      • I have become interested in Colognora, as we frequently drive past it on our way to Florence and the sign stating that it is an “isola linguistica” has always intrigued me… It is only a small reminder of the Lombard’s power over the region, but they have left other samples of their culture, particularly in architecture and the arts.

  2. The restaurant is good looking, the food is good looking and the two brothers are good looking – that all augers well for sweeping away one’s cares, but it’s always wise to err on the safe side so I too would give the little scacciaguai a poke in the eyes:)

  3. Shared ‘scacciaguai’ with my italian class. Word of the week!
    I think guai is a very nice word for trouble.
    These old traditions fascinate me, more things to delve and study! Thank you!

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