The Italian Job

Dr. Kristina Neuhauser investigates a gun shaped property in Bussana Vecchia.

My interest in an Italian I consultation got keener when I received the floor plan in the mail. The apartment has a peculiar form that was difficult to identify at first sight.

The village of Bussana Vecchia, where the flat is located, has a dramatic history. Situated on a hill top about 600 metres above sea level, it overlooks the Ligurian Sea and surrounding mountains. Administratively it belongs to the famous festival town of San Remo. In 1887, Bussana Vecchia was destroyed by an earthquake. Most of the lovely features of Ligurian coastal architecture – narrow winding cobbled streets, houses built from local stone, thick stone walls, Venetian windows with wooden shutters and the lush subtropical palm and fig trees were ravaged and volcanic activity devastated 89% of the village.

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Feng Shui Italian Job

The surviving inhabitants abandoned the ruins never wanting to return. Thanks to a major governmental restoration plan, Bussana Nova was built at the foot of the hill with a magnificent neo baroque church to replace the old one.

As time passed, life gradually sneaked back into the old, damaged village. The first people who tried their skills at turning the ruins into ateliers or studios were Italian artists/painters, sculptors from Milan and Rome, seeking inspiration at the top of the hill by the sea. Their example was followed by British, American and German artists occupying the empty remnants of flats in the manner squatters infiltrate empty buildings. In 1961, the Italian government declared publicly that Bussana Vecchia had become an International Artists’ Community protected by the government.

Strolling through the village, you can still see the tell-tale signs of the earthquake more than 100 years ago, on the uneven cobbled pavement, the old baroque church still in ruins and the very irregular and unusual form and shapes of the houses. The ateliers, shops and boutiques were created from the demolished houses in an “anything goes” manner. In this village individual styles defy any conventional architectural rules. Partially ruined wall-formations from the outside are mixed with modern uses of glass and metal inside. It is very difficult to find a rectangular or square shaped house or studio in the village. Almost all properties have missing area.

In spring or summer, the artist village thrives on tourism. Soft pastel-coloured paintings of Ligurian seaside scenes, handmade jewellery, pottery, fashion boutiques and a Ligurian speciality shop attract souvenir-hunters. Two “osterias” serve home-made pasta dishes and a range of vegetarian Italian delicacies.

The apartment I was interested in opened from a small Piazza. Leading upwards at about 75°, the tunnel like very steep, dark staircase left me breathless at the top. The main wooden door opened to the well-lit area of the sitting room. I had my first hand experience of how difficult it is for the Chi to enter the flat from the Piazza considering it as the Ming Tang or Bright Hall of the flat.

As the floor plan shows, two-winged glass doors and a small window provided the major source of Chi for the property. Out on the terrace you find a beautiful sea view and a 180° vista panning out to the neighbouring mountains; blue sky, radiant sun and the shining surface of the sea await. This gave me the impression of space, air and lots of energy. It was obvious that in establishing the site and facing directions of the flat, the source of chi from the sea was the most important factor.

Overcoming the difficulty of getting a good compass reading at the door, I started to work out the Flying Star, Late Heaven Ba Chop, Chi, Sang Sit and room by room calculations for the flat.

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