Bussana Vecchia: Renaissance of a Ruined Village through Art
The International Artists’ settlement of Bussana Vecchia was born on the famous ruins of a once-important medieval Ligurian settlement. After a strong earthquake devastated the hamlet in the 1960s, a group of artists rebuilt it, and many others quickly followed suit, bringing back the community’s brightness and beauty. For this reason, Bussana Vecchia is regarded as the center of numerous artistic and artisanal endeavors as well as a kind of Italian “hippie outpost.”
The Bussana Vecchia Heritage
terrible occurrence An enormous earthquake that rocked the Sanremo hinterland occurred in 1887. It goes without saying that the village of Bussana emerged incredibly wounded in dignity and strength. In fact, the devastation was so severe and widespread that the residents were forced to temporarily flee their houses in search of safety elsewhere, particularly in the lower Sanremo neighborhood.
After all entrances were blocked, Bussana was reduced to a melancholic recollection for more than six decades. In actuality, the earthquake destroyed every house, rendering it uninhabitable, but it also targeted the town parish church, which was packed with praying faithful on the day of the earthquake but fortunately all survived, and the castle, which was already dangerous.
It was an old fortified structure, dating from about the year 1100. The manor was built under the orders of Count Ottone of Ventimiglia. It included two massive towers that were used mainly for domestic purposes and of which, regrettably, only a small portion survived the earthquake.
Since the building was almost abandoned starting in 1200, according to the chronicles, the earthquake just made the already centuries-old devastation and ruin worse.
The Inn for Artists
Today, as you stroll through the hamlet, you come upon a bar that represents the wish for Bussana Vecchia to come back to life. The location, which dates back to the 1950s, was like a little oasis among the village’s ruins.
One of the most important locations to visit is the Osteria degli Artisti, which serves as a hub for artistic and cultural interchange and as the expanding headquarters for the artistic community. The Osteria degli Artisti is ideal for a romantic and moving dinner because of the hippy-bohemian vibe that permeates the space, the evening performances that bring life to the area, and the option to order straightforward but delicious cuisine from the local tradition.
Consolidation after reconstruction
The illustrious and glamorous 1960s. Most importantly, those were years of rebirth: Bussana Vecchia sprang from the ashes during that time thanks to the creative vision of Turin artist Clizia, who fell in love with the abandoned village and sensed its immense, enchanted potential. As a result, a global community of artists emerged, enabling them to use the structures for cultural and artistic endeavors at no cost to them but without the capacity to claim ownership.
The village was able to resurrect its sun through extensive repair efforts, the reconnecting of utilities including gas, electricity, water, and telephone connections, as well as respect for the settlement’s historic Middle Ages construction. Following a first phase of satisfactory improvements that reorganized the town’s topography, the 1970s report on the ongoing artistic repopulation of the village.
In the ongoing process of creative repopulation, locals are restoring an increasing number of abandoned homes, resuming or reestablishing essential services, and drawing in new artists to relocate to Bussana, while some are leaving for good.
The intense creative endeavor, just as it was yesterday
The village of Bussana has been home to numerous artists over the years, including writers, composers, sculptors, painters, and graphic designers. A few belong to the “old guard,” that small group of men and women who cherished it when they first moved in the 1960s, while others joined over time and chose to make it their permanent home after falling in love with it.
Attending Bussana is a monument to the art in all its manifestations, but it is also a tribute to oneself, even though the town has lost some of its vintage and “maudit” charm due to the hordes of tourists that descend upon it, particularly during the summer and fall seasons.
Lastly, don’t forget to stop by and peruse the many distinctive artisan stores and ateliers—truly essential items in the hamlet.
Eat and sleep in the little, historic village.
One option for those who prefer laid-back, rural travel without the ostentation of a five-star establishment is to reserve a few nights at one of the village’s three bed and breakfasts. We suggest Colin’s B&B, which was started by the town’s first resident, painter, sculptor, and author Colin Sydney Wilmot. With only two rooms, the building is compact but attractive.
In addition to the previously mentioned Osteria degli Artisti, you may also try the Ristorante Naturale Apriti Sesamo for a satisfying lunch. The restaurant’s menu features dishes that are vegan-macrobiotic, feature exceptionally fresh fish, are vegetarian-friendly, and only use organic products.
The bell tower of the church of Sant’Egidio, which remains tall despite the earthquake, is the village’s emblem. These are the interesting facts you should be aware of. Unfortunately, tourists cannot enter the church, but they can take an interesting tour of the structure to see the historic stucco and paintings that still cover it.
The Roman Villa of Bussana’s archeological remains, which date to the first and second centuries AD, are located not far from the settlement.
Route Planning for Bussana Vecchia
If traveling by automobile, take the A6 towards Savona, then the A12 towards Ventimiglia, then get off at Arma di Taggia to go to Bussana Vecchia. All that’s left to do is take the SS1 towards Sanremo and get off towards Bussana at that point.
The visit takes around an hour if you want to make a brief stop, and you can only explore the hamlet on foot (the car must be left at the start of the town center).