Bussana Vecchia is an ancient village in the province of Imperia, located on top of a hill, situated at East of the river Armea, at 8 km from Sanremo. It is surrounded by pine and chestnut trees. Devastated by a violent earthquake in 1887, the town has been uninhabited for years and its citizens moved further downstream and founded Bussana Nuova. Around 1950 a community of painters and artists repopulated the village and even though the damaged buildings were not rebuilt, they were made habitable. The fascinated beauty of the place and the medieval atmosphere of these ruins of the past, have created the perfect setting for small craft shops, small restaurants, boutiques and art galleries.
Bussana Vecchia, once surrounded by fortified walls, develops in a ring shape around the church. The damaged buildings of clearly visible stone, are connected one to each other by arches and they have retained their original structure. The narrow and steep roads, also in stone, are partly covered by vaults that have almost remained intact.
Probably the town was a Roman settlement. At the time of the Lombard invasions, the population moved into the Armea Valley below and remained there until the X century, when the Saracen raids pushed them inland again, to seek more sheltered locations. In the second half of 1100 the territory was ceded to the domains of the Counts of Ventimiglia and to this period dates the construction of the first fortress.
In the XIII century, the town was purchased by the Republic of Genoa and in the XV century began the development of the center towards South-East. Due to a series of significant earthquakes in the XIX century and in particular to the shocking one of 1887, the town was finally abandoned to its destiny.
Not to miss:
The Church of Sant'Egidio, in Baroque style, which is located at the center of the village and has never been refurbished. The only remains are ruins, but there are traces of richly decorated walls with frescoes still visible in soft colors, and a Bell tower, that miraculously survived the quake.
The Oratory of John the Baptist, located in the East side of the town, which can be visited only from the outside.
The typical panoramic views from the corners of the old XIX century style buildings.