Bussana Vecchia UP068

Bussana Vecchia is a former ghost town in Liguria, Italy. Abandoned due to an earthquake in 1887, it was renovated and repopulated by an international community of artists in the early 1960s. It is administratively a hamlet (frazione) of the city of Sanremo, near the border with France. To this day, it is home to a small group of local inhabitants as well as international artists, with craft shops, cafes, and restaurants, and has over the years gained the reputation of a rural artists' residence within the setting of a medieval village.

In 1947, immigrants from southern Italy started illegally settling the ghost town. After a few forced evictions by the Italian police in the 1950s, the authorities ordered the destruction of all first-floor stairways and rooftops.

Despite this, in the early 1960s, Vanni Giuffrè, a sicilian painter, together with a group of artists, the Community of International Artists (now International Artists' Village), decided to move to what was by then commonly known as Bussana Vecchia. The spirit of the organization was somewhat idealistic: to be able to live simply and to work artistically within the village.

The settlement had no electricity, tap water, or sanitation, but the new community of inhabitants grew from the small original nucleus to around 20-30 people by 1968, mostly hippie artists coming from all over Europe (Italy, Austria, England, France, Denmark, Germany, and Sweden).

Tensions with the old inhabitants and with the police grew until on July 25, 1968, an eviction was ordered again and the police were sent to the village to enforce it. When the police forces arrived, they were faced with the villagers behind barricades refusing to leave and by a large group of international news reporters. The police decided to avoid confrontation.

The first internal problems surrounding the legal recognition of properties in the village arose in the early 70s. Private property began to emerge as a necessity, in stark contrast to the initial ideals of the community of artists. In the meantime, the descendants of the original inhabitants of the town founded the "Amici di Bussana" ("Friends of Bussana") association, with the intention of regaining possession of the areas belonging to their ancestors, and they proceeded to enclose and declare the whole northern area of the town as their own.