Bussana was founded around 1050 a.d. on a rocky hilltop where the former lord of the land, one of the Counts of Ventimiglia, built a manor. In 1259 Bussana was bought by the Repubblica di Genova.

At the turn of the 14th century the number of houses, and therefore of inhabitants, had increased significantly. The chapel of the castle proved to be too small for the congregation. As a result they started building a larger church. It was finished in 1404 and it was dedicated to S. Egidio. Two more aisles were later added because of the increase in population. The new aisles were completed in 1505. In 1652 a huge part of the Romanic structure was torn down to make way for a Baroque church.

The columns which lined the two aisles were taken away and six chapels, each one with its own altar, were built into the walls. Gerolamo Comanedi, a young artist coming from Osteno (Lugano) worked there all his life long, creating remarkable interior fittings with paintings, stuccoes and friezes. A century later, one of his nephews, who was named after him, added more frescoes and stuccoes completing the work at the side chapels. Antonio Storace from Sampierdarena and G.B. Marazzo from Riva Ligure, both of them painters, worked there too. The facade was restored by the brothers Adani from Como in 1807.

During the 1887 earthquake on the 23rd of February, the first shock came at 6:21 in the morning.

Three Kilometers down below, closer to the sea, the foundation stone of the town hall of Bussana was laid, on 14th June 1889. Thus the new Bussana came into being as the old one was abandoned.
Clizia, a potter and painter from Torino came to Bussana Vecchia in 1959. He thought he had found here an ideal site to start an international artistic centre. In 1961 he founded the International Community of Artists together with a poet, Giovanni Fronte and a painter, Vanni Giuffré.

Eventually the restoration of the less damaged buildings began by moving mountains of rubble with very little money; there was no water, electricity or sewage. Soon more artists came. They were from France, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Holland as well as Italy. Some settled permanently and others came for periods throughout the year.

At the end of the 60’s the Community numbered some thirty artists: painters, sculptors, potters, writers, musicians, actors and designers. Clizia left Bussana Vecchia to found a local school of pottery in Costigliole d’Asti.

Some left thinking the experience had come to an end, others were attracted by the spell and magic of this ancient village and decided to stay.

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