Long ago, the ownership of the coastline between France and Italy was under debate. Nice used to be a part of Italy, leading to its Italian influences today, and some towns across the border were at one time a part of Nice County. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to travel from the French Riviera to the Italian Riviera with IES Abroad. I discovered the difference in culture, the divine cuisine, and beautiful landscapes.
We drove across the border, stopping first at a village called Bussana Vecchia. We saw an ornate miniature train model that showed the talent of the town. We then tried some Italian espresso before learning more about the history.
An earthquake struck the village in 1887. A church, with some of it standing today, collapsed and unfortunately many of the town members died. It became a ghost town as the authorities declared that it was dangerous. Eventually, people began settling again in the town without water and electicity, but were evicted by police. Finally, in the 1960s, a group of artists protested against the authorities and were allowed to stay. Today, it is known as an artistic village with remnants of its past history.
We also visited a generous home who offered food and stay to anyone who entered. It opened my eyes to a different way of living with its assortment of items being used in creative ways. Various couches and chairs created a seating area, mismatched dressers added character, and art pieces adorned the walls.
The next stop was Apricale, a medieval town located in the hills. We stopped for lunch at a quaint Italian restaurant called Da Baci. Unsurprisingly, the food was delicious. The atmosphere made us feel like we were in an underground cave, enhancing the experience.
After lunch, we went on a walking tour of Apricale. The breathtaking landscape was not like anything I had seen before. Charming with its small alleyways and unique location, the town stood out.
Next was Dolceacqua, translating to "sweet water". It is a famous town known for its royalty and painting by Monet. We walked around, seeing the castle, bridge, and church. We also snacked on Michetta, a sweet dessert consisting of bread and sugar with an odd history.
Before leaving Italy, we stopped at a grocery store in Ventimiglia to pick up some tasty souvenirs. Whether it was pasta, pasta sauce, cheese, or dessert, we cherished our purchases.
With its advantageous location, Nice lends itself to many amazing day trips. I feel lucky to be studying somewhere so close to another country as it allows me to experience both cultures. I hope to visit Italy again soon. Grazie mille!
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<p>My name is Emma Desjardin and I'm traveling to Nice, France, but my French last name is spelled wrong. Desjardins translates to "of the gardens" but somewhere in the past I lost the "s" and my green thumb. I love language and am excited to write about my experiences. I hope that in my adventures abroad I can find myself and learn a little bit about where that "s'" went.</p>