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Bussana Vecchia, where art is resilience

The colors of rebirth


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Where is


Str. Bussana Vecchia, 112, 18038 Bussana Vecchia IM, Italia (199m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

We come from Diano Castello, a small village very close to the epicenter of that tragic earthquake event that devastated the entire western Ligurian region on the morning of February 23, 1887. One of the roads to Bussana Vecchia is closed due to a landslide that fell on the road this autumn of heavy rains. The only access to the old village is through Bussana Nuova, also inland from San Remo, which has been entirely built up only since the 1890s. And there it is, on the hill, nestled among a thousand yellow flowers and enhanced by the sun, Bussana Vecchia, in the quiet after the storm.

Why it is special

We park outside the village and walk the entire "road to Bussana" on foot, under the sun, on a day more spring than winter. We pass the first small square packed with people and immediately enter the heart of the village. Art stores, decorated doors, stained glass tiles affixed to houses like mosaics, and small objects and accessories made strictly by hand by the local artists who have really made history here, show up in every alley and at every glimpse.

Not to be missed

The images of some of the glimpses of the earthquake-stricken village turn out to be extremely impactful, first and foremost that of the Church of St. Egidio, gutted by the event and, to this day, devoid of its ceiling and vault, as a warning of what happened. However, it is the colors of the works of art that sprout like vigorous flowers throughout the village that dominate the landscape and emotions. Every corner becomes picturesque, as if art flows through the arteries of the village and we inhale it with every breath. Art, here, is the event not to be missed, it is the very life of Bussana Vecchia, it is its rebirth.

A bit of history

At the end of the 1950s, after more than sixty years of total abandonment by the inhabitants who survived the earthquake, the village was totally devoid of any urban infrastructure and essential services. It was Turin-based ceramicist Mario Giani, aka Clizia, who launched the idea of establishing an "International Community of Artists" in the ruined village. Soon, artisans and artists from all over Europe began restoration work, respecting the medieval layout of the village and using only materials salvaged from the rubble. Thus was Bussana Vecchia reborn.


If you think that this is not a place where children can find some recreation and fun, you are very wrong. In the heart of Bussana Vecchia, inside an old building among the characteristic carruggi (narrow streets), there is an incredible model railroad that is on three levels, that is, in three different rooms of the town. It depicts the old railway on the sea of western Liguria, now replaced by a beautiful 24-kilometer-long cycle track. Therefore, in addition to artistic modeling, faithfully reproduced in the smallest details, it also takes on historical value.

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Luigiandrea Luppino

Today is February 23. We retrace the history of the earthquake that, on the same day in 1887, razed many villages on the Ligurian coast and inland. Bussana Vecchia, reborn in the 1960s thanks to art, is the topical example of resilience.