Road Trip through Europe: Bussana Vecchia

In summer, we did a 10 day road trip through parts of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Our itinerary was: Berlin – WeimarHeidelburgFreiburgLucerne Lake ComoLa-SpeziaCinque Terre – Bussana Vecchia – Monaco – Éze – Gorges du Verdon – Moustiers-Ste-Marie – Valensole – Chamonix – Tübingen – Swäbisch Hall – Berlin.

On day 6 of our road trip, our goal was to drive from La Spezia, in northern Italy, to Éze, a charming medieval village in France. Before stopping in Éze, we drove through Genova, made a spontaneous stop in Bussana Vecchia and took a quick walk around Monaco. That’s the great thing about a road trip – being able to stop along the way wherever you like!

First we drove through Genova (Genoa). Genova has a history as a rich and powerful port. It definitely had the feeling of a city by the sea, even driving through. Unfortunately there was no time to stop, but doesn’t it look nice?





Often when we’re out and about my husband looks up nearby restaurants on Google maps, and this time while stopping for a coffee at a rest stop he somehow found out about the village of Bussana Vecchia. We had no idea where he was taking us as he headed up a hill, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

Bussana Vecchia is a 1000-year old medieval hilltop town that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1187 and subsequently abandoned. Some time later, in the 1960’s, artists started moving back to the town and renovating the buildings, and it became an artist’s commune. As a result, not only are there art galleries everywhere, but there are quirky pieces of art all around the town. Thus, Bussana Vecchia is also known as the International Artists’ village.

More than that, it’s just a very charming village to walk around, soaking up the atmosphere.


I loved all the plants climbing over and around the old buildings. It was also a pleasant surprise to see some of the plants that grow at home (Cape Town) again, as the flora of Germany is quite different to that of the warmer countries, so flowers that I used to see every day I now don’t see at all.


A mystery plant we used to have in our garden. The flowers open at night and have a lovely perfume.

On the top of the hill you can see the ruins of the church that tragically collapsed during the 1887 earthquake. As it was Ash Wednesday morning when the earthquake occurred, many of  the citizens of Bussana Vecchia were inside, and the collapse of the heavy roof killed many.

After wandering around the village for a while, we stopped for lunch (some pasta with pesto) in a shady garden. Basil pesto, my absolute favourite pasta topping, originated in the region we were in, Liguria.

After lunch it was time to head off. I leave you with a few more photos from Bussana Vecchia.

Part of a large model train exhibition.

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