Triora and Bussana Vecchia, the abandoned villages that enchant 

Liguria hides some ancient villages that tell the charm of history and witness a surprising artistic rebirth.  Two of these places are Triora above Arma di Taggia and Bussana Vecchia that have revived back to being inhabited and lively. 

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Triora above Arma di Taggia and Bussana Vecchia are two villages located in Liguria, the region overlooking the Ligurian Sea. More precisely, they are located near the city of Sanremo, despite being the first administratively annexed to the province of Imperia, famous for its temperate climate and the Italian Song Festival.  

They are places rich in history, culture and character, ideal destinations for those who want to explore the unexpected Liguria and immerse themselves in its rich cultural heritage. 

Triora: the City of Witches 

Triora is famous as “the town or village of witches”. But why is Triora called so? During the Middle Ages, some of Triora’s women were involved in one of the bloodiest witch trials in Liguria. 

Where is the city of witches in Italy? The Italian Salem is located in the valley that leads from Taggia to the Ligurian Alps. 

This ancient village, with its paved streets and stone houses with an unreal atmosphere, is an open window on the past. The legends of witchcraft and mystery are intertwined with the evocative architecture, creating a unique atmosphere.

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In the center are the ruins of the castle, built on a tangle of tunnels and alleys and enclosed within a wall belt. From the main road you reach the Church of the Collegiate Church, from which you can go down to the cave where you can admire the Madonna of Lourdes. 

Just outside the center, you can reach the Cabotina, that is the place where the witches (called “bàzure”), according to legendary tradition they used to gather for their “demonic” Sabbath (pier probably it was medicine practices or pagan rites). The historical documents are kept in the Museum of Ethnographic Triora and Witchcraft, located at the entrance of the village. 

After centuries of history and community life, Triora fell into neglect during the twentieth century, when many inhabitants emigrated in search of opportunities elsewhere. However, in recent decades, the village has experienced a slow but steady recovery thanks to the interest of history lovers and nature lovers. 

Bussana Vecchia: the Art that regenerates 

Bussana Vecchia, located near Sanremo, has an equally interesting history that begins with the Roman era. After the Lombard invasions and the Saracens, it began to transform with the arrival of the Counts of Ventimiglia and the annexation to the Republic of Genoa. 

In the late nineteenth century, a devastating earthquake hit the village, forcing the inhabitants to evacuate and move downstream, creating Bussana Nuova. For almost a century, Bussana Vecchia remained in ruins, a ghost town with deserted streets and empty houses. 

At the turn of the fifties and sixties, artists from different parts of the world began to populate the ruins, transforming the uninhabited village into a lively creative center. Today, Bussana Vecchia is known as the “Artists’ Village”, where artisans’ workshops and open-air art galleries animate the ancient stone streets.

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The presence of artists has given new life to Bussana Vecchia, creating a dynamic community that celebrates art in many forms. Works of art blend with ancient architecture, creating a unique environment in which the past and present embrace each other. 

Besides the beauty and creativity of the community of artists, you can visit the Church of Sant’Egidio (once the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie), the oratory of San Giovanni Battista and the botanical garden among the ruins of the city. 

The contact points between Triora and Bussana Vecchia 

The two villages, Triora sopra Arma di Taggia and Bussana Vecchia, share some characteristics that can be considered as “points of contact”. 

First of all, both villages are located in the same region and relatively close geographically. They are less than an hour’s drive from each other. 

Both Triora and Bussana Vecchia are rich in history and cultural heritage: both have a fascinating past and a history of abandonment followed by a renaissance thanks to art. Many creatives have chosen to settle in these locations, contributing to a new vitality and the creation of vibrant artistic communities.

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Following their rebirth they have become popular tourist destinations, attracting visitors interested in Ligurian history, art and culture. Cobbled streets, ancient architecture and open-air art galleries are just some of the attractions that both villages offer to those who wonder what to see in Triora and Bussana Vecchia  

How to get to Bussana Vecchia and Triora 

To reach Bussana Vecchia, the most convenient option is to use a private vehicle.  Take the exit from the A12 motorway at Arma di Taggia, take the SS1 towards Sanremo and take the road that leads to Bussana Nuova. From here, just follow the road signs to Bussana Vecchia.  

Alternatively you can opt for a train trip to Sanremo, followed by a short bus ride that will lead to Bussana Nuova. From here, you walk a couple of kilometers uphill along the old mule track that connected the village to the sea and offers picturesque views. 

From Taggia Station you can take a bus and reach Triora in just over an hour or you can travel by car from Bussana Vecchia via Via Arginatura, the SS1bis or the SS1. 

Starting from the Arma di Taggia exit of the A10 motorway, proceed to the Aurelia that crosses Arma di Taggia. From there, head east and take the road to Triora before reaching the bridge. Continue following the Argentina Valley to the Molini di Triora and continue in the direction of Triora, crossing the village and crossing the bridge. 

Triora and Bussana Vecchia: where to sleep 

In both Triora and Bussana, accommodation options tend to offer a friendly and familiar atmosphere for all needs. 

These two Ligurian villages offer different accommodation options ranging from bed and breakfasts to farmhouses and hotels.

Copertina: siviaggia

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