Valle Argentina: Triora and Molini di Triora

Triora is famous for the events involving some unfortunate women. During those times, in the late 16th century, the population heavily depended on the natural cycles of the seasons. If something went wrong, such as excessively hot summers or excessively rainy springs, the growth of crops could be compromised, ruining the annual harvest.

In the year 1587, a series of unfortunate events led to famine in the population of Triora. Some pointed fingers at certain women who frequented an area outside the village called La Cabotina; these were unmarried women, never married, or widows. Some began to claim that they had caused the famine through witchcraft! Witches and concubines of the devil! Some of these women were prosecuted in a Genoese court and forced to confess to the impossible or accuse other fellow citizens. The echo of this event was such that it attracted the attention of other religious and civil authorities.

The world of witchcraft or magical folk traditions evokes in us, modern travellers, a perhaps lost wisdom, giving the impression of an intimate synergy with nature that centuries of science and dogmatic faith have forgotten.

Let’s rediscover ancient traditions, witchcraft, and folk myths to remind ourselves of a past in touch with nature and its mysteries that lasted for millennia.

The population of Triora erected a monument to the smiling witch a few years ago and has preserved the history and traditions in an ethnographic and witchcraft museum located at the entrance of the wonderful historic centre of Triora.

Molini di Triora and Triora, located along State Road 548 of the Valle Argentina, can be reached by exiting the A10 highway at Arma di Taggia. Triora exudes charm associated with a construction that dates back millennia. “The church of N.S. Assunta has remote origins and stands on a Fanum Pagano,” reads a plaque affixed to its walls. Its greatest fame comes from the tragic events of the late 16th century when the concerns of the population, linked to a severe famine, were directed at some local women accused of witchcraft and maleficence against the town. In the 2000s, the people of the municipality, with a symbolic gesture, sought to rehabilitate the unfortunate by organizing a historical conference and erecting a statue of the smiling witch at the entrance to the village. The history of Molini di Triora also dates back to the Middle Ages: its urban layout is entirely tied to water. Fountains, watering troughs, bridges, mills, springs, wells, conduits, and canals dot the entire village.