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From medieval village to open-air workshop

The story of Bussana Vecchia, a medieval village on a hilltop behind Sanremo, is a fascinating one. Destroyed by terrible earthquake in the late 19th century, it rose again like a small phoenix in the 1950s, when a group of artists, philosophers and artisans – led by Turin-born ceramicist Mario Giani, aka Clizia – decided to restore the ancient buildings grouped around the castle and turn them into homes and studios. And this was the start of the village of artists, a community with its own constitution, general rules and restoration standards. Soon life returned to the delightful little alleys of the village, thanks to art galleries, ateliers, small restaurants and shops, turning Bussana Vecchia into a small Ligurian gem. 

It’s one of those places where the best thing to do is soak up the atmosphere with an aimless stroll, peering into the workshops of the artisans and artists who still live and work in the village, among stone houses framed by colourful flowers and climbing plants that alternate with murals, painted chairs hung on walls to hold plant pots and statues in niches of the town wall. Equally striking are the surviving ruins, such as the church of Sant’Egidio, which even from the outside still displays the marbles, stones, ancient stucco and decorations that once made it magnificent. And don’t forget – on arrival or before leaving – to admire the stunning views, which on a clear day extend as far as the sea.