Clizia, the original founder of the Community of International Artists, now International Artists Village, first moved to San Remo in 1959 looking around the area he discovered the abandoned village of Bussana Vecchia in ruins and overgrown. The deserted village intrigued him and for six months he visited it regularly before deciding to try to live there in 1960.


It was there that the idea come to him to create a community of artists in the village. He contacted local artists and Vanni Giuffré, a painter who was exibiting in 1961 in the Casino in San Remo, accepted the idea and he in turn contacted a friend of his,, the poet Giovanni Fronte. The three of them thus forming the base or foundations of the International Artists Village.





























The spirit of the organization was somewhat idealistic : to be able to live simply and to work artistically within the village. Clizia tried to organize this community through a statute. His original idea was that all the buildings should remain for the use of the group as a whole. This idea, later, was rejected as people, having put time and energy into restoring a space, were not willing to let it stay for the use of others, although they did agree that some spaces should be used communally.



The village during this period attracted many people by the way of word of mouth. It also became known that it was possible, for travelling artists, to sleep in a hostel run by Clizia, where they had access to cooking facilities for little or no charge. The water had to be carried into the village as did any other building materials which were not salvageable from the rubble. There was no sanitation or drainage.


Most houses being restored on minimal budgets structurally not altering the outward appearance of the buildings, but making the basic changes to render habitable the least damaged spaces. At this time the new inhabitants needed to have a strong commitment and belief in the idea of the village as its future was uncertain. Most houses were used as alternative homes and studio' s, where people would stay and work for limited periods of time and not as permanent accomodation
























In 1963 Clizia decided to leave the village. The new community of inhabitants grew from the small original nucleus to around twenty-thirty people by 1968. The majority of this group being composed of artists including painters, sculptors, ceramists, writers, musicians, actors and actresses, poets, jewellers and designers.


The water tap, still situated at the front of the village, being the only source of water, naturally became a meeting place where ideas were exchanged and a strong community spirit was maintained. At community meetings and generally throughout the village the main languages spoken were French and English. Most of the houses in this period were still only used as temporary dwellings. The type of energy this environment created in Bussana Vecchia operated well for a time through the one communal gallery.


From the outside, tension from the old inhabitants of the village in Bussana Nuova and their view on Bussana Vecchia started to become a costant pressure. The fear of eviction, which had always been an uncertainty in the village, came to a head in 1968 on the 15th of July with the eviction order giving the villagers ten days to move out of Bussana Vecchia.
The police, when arriving outside Bussana Vecchia on July 25rd 1968, were faced by the villagers behind their barricades refusing to leave and by a large group of international news reporters. The police decided to avoid confrontation.








































The inhabitants spent their time generally on restoring their houses and for creative work of their own, but the distrust developing in the running of the community galleries and the village create a movement towards the opening of one' s own private workshop gallery. The amount of time dedicated to house restoration and creative work stayed more or less on the same level, but two new factors were introduced : find and clear a space to use as a gallery and then the managing of it.

Later in the 60' s with growing doubt about the management of the village and the gallery, the community began to separate forming two different groups. Infact, in 1967-68, with the opening of two more communal galleries and the first private galleryshop, one could see how the original idea of the village through necessity had begun to be challenged from within.




















The needs of the group of more permanent residents - numbering from five to ten people - were fifferent from those of the temporary residents - around thirty - The temporary residents often felt that they could manage without the latter, using candles for light and taking their water from the communal tap which in 1969 had been moved to inside the village.

As a consequence of wanting these services, it became necessary for the more permanents inhabitants to seek legal recognition, including residency and possession of the spaces they had occupied.



They began working along legal paths thus beginning to steer the development of the village towards that of conforming to legal normality, through this, the questions of ownership and property arose and there was a reation from those who still saw Bussana Vecchia as the home of their ancestors and therefore their property through family rights, to form the group " Amici di Bussana " ( Friends of Bussana ). In 1968 a number of members of this group fenced off the whole section called Le Rocche then completely uninhabited and claimed it as their own.


In the lower part of the village, free spaces had become scarce and the rights to these spaces were sometimes contested by individuals selling them to one another at a price connected only to the cost of restoration work. These changes appear to have had an effect on the production of the village? The majority of the residents had other forms of income from outside the village, either through fixed employment related to their work, either contacts or outlets in other parts of the world.






















It is followed that the visible production in Bussana Vecchia also tended tomove towards craft based activities exploiting this new marketin 1974 it became possible for everybody in Bussana Vecchia to be connected to the main water supply and residancy was finally recognized in the winter of 1976, electicity was firstly supplied to a few properties, then in November 1977 permission was finally granted to everybody.


During the early 70' s, the International Artists Village as an organization became weaker and less active to such a point that at a meeting called by the new inhabitants of the village in September 1976, they talked of reforming it. From this the Comitato del Borgo of Bussana Vecchia was formed. The existence of this commitee was recognized by both the San Remo Council and the Comitato di Quartiere of Bussana Nuova, who accepted it as an official voice of Bussana Vecchia.



Thus they did not have to rely to the same extent, as the new permanent people, on the touristic flow from San Remo and the italian riviera. Also during this time there was a slow change taking place from a more exclusive type of tourism to the mass tourism one find today during the summer months. .



















In 1979, an italian law court pronounced a verdict which, for the first time, clarifies and enforces a legal right to possession in the village. In this case in favour of a foreign artist whose house had been occupied by an italian family in during his absence.





























PHOTO N. 1 / 2 © COPYRIGHT WILLY DAHMEN - N. 3 © VANNI GIUFFRE' - N. 4 © A. GHEZZI - N. 5 / 7 © CLIZIA - N. 6/9/10/12/1314 © MAURIZIO FALCONE - N. 8 © E. BRUGO