Triora, Italy: Discover the Haunted Witchcraft Village

In the late 1500s, an extreme drought caused a devastating famine in the Ligurian region of Italy. The authorities believed the intense famine was caused by sinister supernatural forces, such as witchcraft. Local authorities began to accuse women of witchcraft in the mountain town of Triora. Women—especially poor women, single mothers, and prostitutes—were imprisoned, tortured, and killed. By 1589, between 40 and 200 women had been falsely accused of practicing the dark arts. Four women had been burned at the stake in the town square for allegedly using magic to intentionally ruin Triora’s harvest.

Today, Triora is a sleepy Italian mountain town near the French border that revels in its gruesome history. Visitors can view statues of witches, signs for parking spaces that are reserved for witches, witch dolls, prisons where witches were held, and a town square where witches were executed.

There is even an Ethnographic Museum of Witchcraft that showcases items from Triora’s witchcraft trials and delves into the historical framework that created Triora’s witch panic. Authentic occult artifacts such as spell books are also on display. No visit to Triora is complete without a stop at La Cabotina, which is a spot that 16th-century religious zealots claimed was rife with devilish activity such as spellcasting.

Souvenirs in the witches village of Triora, Imperia, Liguria, Italy.

Souvenirs in the witches village of Triora, Imperia, Liguria, Italy.
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Triora is bursting with tourists during the annual Summer Witch Festival and in the autumn leading up to a witch-themed extravaganza on Halloween. The rest of the year, Triora is a gorgeous mountain town that was awarded the prestigious Orange Flag by the Italian Touring Club, which means that the picturesque village is considered to be one of the most breathtakingly beautiful spots in all of Italy.

In addition to exploring Triora’s witchy history, visitors can sample artisanal foods made with ingredients that are produced locally, such as fresh bread known as il pane di Triora, sumptuous olive oil, and delectable cheese. Triora is a village of narrow cobblestone streets and towering stone arches that are just as stunning as the stately mountains that are visible in every direction.

If you’re a hiking enthusiast, there are numerous trails in close proximity to Triora where you can explore the surrounding forests, rivers, and valleys of the Ligurian Alps. The mystical beauty of the Ligurian Alps will help you understand why so many people in 16th-century Italy were convinced that magic was real. The sheer loveliness of Triora will surely cast a spell on you.

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