Bussana Vecchia is a 100 year old ghost town in Liguria only a few kilometers from the border of France. If we had known how far it actually was from Parma, we probably wouldn’t have booked the bed and breakfast there. But since we didn’t, we made the drive up the Ligurian coast, up a treacherous, too-narrow mountain road to the bottom of the medieval town.
We had to park our car at the bottom of the town and walk the rest of the way up because there was no way it could make it through the narrow cobblestone path. We located our bed and breakfast, Apriti Sesamo, at the top of the small town and checked in. The proprietor was in the kitchen and showed us our room upstairs. While he was doing that, he mentioned making sure the mosquito netting was closed when the window was open to prevent mosquitos from going in.
Judging by the fact that we were up till three in the morning battling giant, loud, mosquitos that kept trying to eat us alive through our ears, I don’t think the mosquito netting worked.
We had dinner our first night at the B&B. Because it was such a nice night, we ate outside. The dining room was right below our bedroom window and we could smell the food from the bedroom while it was being prepared.
I started with the octopus salad, which was more potato than octopus, but still fairly good. The potatoes were flavorful and soft, as were the octopus. Both were drenched with rich olive oil — probably not the most healthiest of salads.
Will had an appetizer that was described as crostini with olive and artichoke spread. What came out was jarred olive spread and artichoke spread served on melba toast.
As a main, I had some local fish, prepared the B&B’s preferred way, which was sauteed with tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil. It was simple, but delicious. The fish was cooked to the perfect done-ness.
Will had their pasta with garden vegetables (straight from their garden), which was mostly tomatoes and red bell pepper. We both thought the serving size was incredibly small for the price (about $20).
We found this B&B through some searching for vegetarian meals in Italy. It turns out that Apriti Sesamo ‘s restaurant serves only organic ingredients. Being this remote, and having such a low turnover, I think this is to their detriment. The food was expensive and in the case of the melba toast crostini, not so delicious. The room was also expensive for what it was: full of mosquitos, and no hot water at night.
I’m usually not fussy when it comes to accommodations, but for the price we paid to stay in that room, I would have liked less mosquitos (or even a real mosquito net) and some hot water. Or at least some warning on their site about the possibility of no hot water. I guess we should be lucky that there’s even running water in this medieval town B&B.
Other than the uncomfortable accommodations, the town itself was fun to explore. The view from the window was great. The run down alleyways were cool, and at night, at the bottom fo the town, there’s a pretty popular restaurant that serves grilled meat outside.
When I got there, all the tables outside were full and it was a 30 minute wait to get seated. Tempted by the delicious smelling meat on the grill, I asked if I could just buy two skewers of meat to munch on while standing. The waiter was nice and yoinked two skewers and gave them to me free of charge. I believe they were lamb and they were every bit as delicious as they smelled.
Bussana Vecchia is probably not somewhere we’d visit again just because there’s not much to do up there after a day and it’s just so far from the rest of Italy, but it made for an interesting adventure.