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Old Bussana

Those who reach Bussana Vecchia for the first time face a scenario which is quite surreal in a certain sense. Leaving the new town rebuilt after the earthquake of the end of ‘800 and its famous beaches, a favourite destination for many tourists during the summer season, and going a few kilometres inland, the landscape of this charming village of Sanremo changes radically.

Here, time seems to still stand at that Wednesday, February 23rd, 1887 when a violent earthquake destroyed the beautiful village built on the winding hill behind Sanremo. From that day and for a long time afterwards, the town was abandoned by its inhabitants. For nearly a century in that wonderful village built on the ruins of a medieval village, merely an accumulation of empty and mostly unsafe houses, on uphill streets frequented only by a few stray cats, remained. Then, in the late 50s, a ceramist from Turin, Clizia (aka Mario Giani) launched the idea of establishing an international community of artists here. So it was that in the early 70s Bussana Vecchia was already populated by dozens of painters, writers, sculptors and poets from all over the world. Gradually the old cellars were transformed and the village, albeit retaining a fabulous and in a sense Gothic atmosphere, came back to life and to fascinate. Artists from all over the world chose Bussana Vecchia as their residence and, from time to time, they organise exhibitions and events.

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