Triora, the Salem of Italy!

Far away from everything, through Ligurian forests and mountains, you can visit this extraordinary hamlet! It is located in West Liguria, in its hinterland and it is one of the most fascinating places off the beaten path you can visit in Liguria!

How to reach Triora?

– definitely by car! The hamlet is located on the hill, next to the SP65 road. The closest and the biggest town here in the zone is Sanremo, that you can reach by train. More info here.

– however, it is possible to reach the hamlet also by bus – there is 16 line that connects Sanremo with Triora. The journey takes about 1h 30 min and the ticket costs 1€. More info here.

As I’ve written before, Triora is a small, forgotten hamlet, located off the beaten path. It is not really famous nor in Italy neither Liguria … however, it has really incredible history that should be told.


The first settlement was probably created in that place in the Ancien Romans era. Then in the V-VI century, the Colombiani abbots introduced in the area cultivation of taggasca olives, the one that is still essential in this zone. In the XIII century, Triora became a part of the Republic of Genoa and became a quite important town in that area, with defensive walls and towers. After the fall of the Republic of Genoa, became a part of the French Empire, and after its fall, of the Kingdom of Sardinia and then of United Italy.

However, in whole its history it has very dark period … the time of the witch trials …

Witch Trials

After a period of peace from the XV to the XVI century, where churches and other monuments were built, the history of Triora testifies to the famous witchcraft processes carried out from 1587 to 1589. In that period some women were accused of being the architects of the continuous plague, acid rain, killing of cattle and even cannibalism towards little babies.

In October 1587 the Local Parliament asked the civil and religious authorities to intervene against the alleged witches. Thus arrived the Inquisitors of Genoa and Albenga, who firmly supported the presence of the Evil in the hamlet.

After they arriving, the parishioners were asked to report the witches. Twenty women were arrested and soon became thirty because of the torture reports. Among the tortures thirteen women, four girls and a boy declared themselves guilty to be witches.

The first person, who died was Isotta Stella, a sixty-year-old woman from a noble family. She died from the torture she suffered. The second woman who died during that period was the one who threw herself out the window.

After these tragedies, the situation in Triora became very complicated and spooky. The Local Parliament intervened and asked the Inquisitors to proceed with greater caution.

A month later, all imprisoned women were transferred to Genoa for continuing the trial. The accusations against the suspects were: crime against God, trade with the devil, murders of women and children.

After that, the documents and facts are not clear … It is known that 4 of the accused women were condemned to the stake. However, they weren’t executed because of the grace of Doga of Genoa. Probably also other women, that were imprisoned in Genoa were set free.

It was the largest witchcraft trial of the late 16th century, so ferocious as to make the country nicknamed the Salem of Italy.

Things to see & do

Nowadays, the hamlet is a calm, authentic and very picturesque place to visit. It is surrounded by walls and has characteristical, narrow streets called carruggi. They lead to the main square where you can visit 2 principal churches of the town: Collegiata di Nostra Signora Assunta and beautiful Oratorio di San Giovanni Battista.

Main Square:

Collegiata di Nostra Signora Assunta:

Oratorio di San Giovanni Battista:


Museum of Etnografie and witchcraft

It is located next to the main entrance of the hamlet. It was created inside ex-prison cells. Inside you can see pictures of Triora and many objects that illustrate the history of the town. More info here.


It is located outside the walls and in the past, it was the poorest area of Triora. In this horrid and deserted place, would be organized the witches night conferences. However, it is more possible that single women, prostitutes and peasants lived here and they were among the first to be involved in the process.


  • Triora is listed on the List of the Most Beautiful hamlets of Italy
  • specialities that you should try here are: pane di Triora (a kind of special bread), bruss (kind of liquid cheese with a strong taste), alpeggio di Triora (another cheese)


It was definitely one of the darkest periods of Ligurian history. However, at the same time, it is so fascinating and incredible to know some more about the history of this dispersed place. Absolutely a place to add to your “to-do list” in Liguria!


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