Bussana Vecchia (that means Old Bussana) is another Middle Ages Italian village of Liguria Ponente. However, it's an unique village and completely different from all the others, like Dolceacqua, Apricale, Triora, Ceriana etc. I think it's the spookiest one in the Riviera Ponente backcountry, destroyed by an earthquake, abandoned for years, Bussana Vecchia is a magic place full of memories and errant ghosts.
Bussana was founded around 1050 a.d. on a rocky hilltop and around the 14th century the number of inhabitants had increased significantly. So the small village with his castle and one only chapel grew bigger and second chapel was built in the honour of S. Egidio where the artist Gerolamo Comanedi from Lugano spent his entire life to decorate it. This village attracted soon other artist to work in its beautiful new chapel however during 1887 an Earthquake almost destroyed all the village. Two years after the village was abandoned and reconstructed down near the coast, it was called Bussana Nuova (New Bussana).
Bussana Vecchia stayed inhabited and abandoned since 1959 until when Clizia, a potter and a painter from Torino visited it and thought he had found the ideal site for an international artistic centre. So, in 1961 with the poet, Giovanni Fronte and the painter Vanni Giuffré they founded the The International Community of Artists. They started the eventually restoration of less damaged buildings with very little money, there was no water, electricity or sewage. However soon more artists came from all over Europe like France, Germany, Great Britain, Austria, Holland and also from other regions of Italy. Some of them settled permanently and others came for periods through the year. At the end of the 60`s the community numbered around thirty artists: painters sculptors, potters, writers, musicians, actors and designers. Clizia then left Bussana Vecchia and founded a Pottery school in Castiglione d'Asti but since then several artists are attracted by the spell and magic of this ancient village and decide to stay.
I love to come here and wander in the village carrugi (narrow typical streets of Ligurian villages), have a look to all those artistic shops and places and expositions, you can really feel the magic in the air and maybe stay a little to get inspired by the place and its community.
There are plenty of nice small restaurants all around the village were the homemade meals are really delicious. So, if you are travelling in Liguria Ponente, it's a stop you must take and maybe your artistic nature will be inspired and spelled by this poetic and charming village.
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