Bussana Vecchia, the fascinating ghost town!

After my holidays I start a new, Ligurian season with an authentic and very fascinating place:


(pronunciation: Bussana Wekjα:)

It is absolutely unbelievable, the ghost town in Liguria. Abandoned due to an earthquake,  was renovated and repopulated by an international community of artists.

But let’s start from the very beginning 🙂

How to reach Bussana Vecchia?

  • by car  (it is the most comfortable way to reach the town)

A12 motorway – you use  Arma di Taggia motorway exit. Then follow the road signs SS1 Aurelia Sanremo direction and then to Bussana Vecchia (it takes about 20 min. from motorway exit). WARNING, the last part of the road is very steep and narrow!

SS1 Aurelia – state road very panoramic and very picturesque – this part of the Ligurian coast is very beautiful. Then in  Arma di Taggia you have to follow the road signs to Bussana Vecchia.

  • by train + by bus – by train, you reach Sanremo and then from the railway station you can take a bus line 13 to Bussana Nuova. It brings you to the newer part of the town that was built after the earthquake. Then you have to go about 2 km on foot! (the road is very steep).


The town was probably founded by the Romans. Then was conquered by Lombards and Saracens. In Middle Ages was owned by dukes of  Ventimiglia and then by the Republic of Genoa. At the beginning of the XIX century arrived the first signs of a possible disaster. The town survived a series of light earthquakes (in 1831, 1851, 1854). In that period inhabitants of Bussana started reinforced the structures of their houses. For instance, they constructed the arcs between the buildings. They were built to prevent that the houses collapsed during the earthquakes.

Earthquake 1887

At 6.21 am 23’th February 1887 Bussana was hit by a very intense earthquake. It was Ash Wednesday and the majority of the inhabitants were in church … The earthquake was so violent that in 20 seconds destroyed almost the whole town. A roof of the church collapsed on the people that were inside … the same thing happened with the majority of the buildings.

Most of the buildings were severely damaged and the authorities decided to rebuild the town in a new site downhill called Bussana Nuova (New Bussana). The old town was abandoned and all of its buildings were declared dangerous.

Rebirth of Bussana Vecchia

During the years the town was totally abandoned. All, old inhabitants moved to Bussana Nuova. After World War II some immigrants from Southern Italy started illegally settling the town. After their forced eviction the authorities ordered the destruction of all first floor stairways and rooftops. At the end of the ’50 of the XX century, Bussana Vecchia was “discovered” by numerous artists that decided to move and live there.

Current situation

Bussana Vecchia is still populated by the artists and artisans. In the town, you can find numerous art galleries, artisans shops and some restaurants. During the summer season are organized concerts and performances. Almost all buildings were rebuilt by the artists that live in Bussana Vecchia. However the old church (the one that the roof was collapsed wasn’t rebuilt. It is still a symbol of the tragedy that happened in Bussana).

I think that Bussana Vecchia is one of the fascinating places in Liguria. The atmosphere here is really unbelievable … artists, ruins, silence and nature. Really unforgettable experience …

2 Replies to “Bussana Vecchia, the fascinating ghost town!”

  1. I visited BV when I was staying in Genoa some years ago. I was fascinated to hear that they manage to get mail even though they don’t officially exist. I have trouble getting mail in my own little town in Abruzzo… 🙂

    1. That's Liguria! says: Reply

      Thank you for your comment Nick! 🙂

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