Civita di Bagnoregio

A village suspended in the clouds, this is the image of Civita that I have in my memory ... of the first time I saw it.


Defined "The dying city" by the writer Bonaventura Tecchi:

"The fairy tale of the dying village - of the country that is attached to life in the midst of a lunar chorus of silent and shining badlands, and has behind it the chain of the blue mountains of Umbria - will still last."
from "Antica Terra"


Practically ....

Civita is a fraction of Bagnoregio, a town in the province of Viterbo, not far from Lake Bolsena, registered with the association "most beautiful villages in Italy".

Entry to Civita, from June 2013, is subject to a fee, admission from 8 to 20, cost 5 Euros, at the ticket office or online here:
It can only be reached via a 300 meter long concrete footbridge, built in 1965.

Arriving by car you can park in Bagnoregio in Piazza Battaglini, 25 minutes on foot or by shuttle to the Belvedere at a cost of € 1.00 return trip.

In addition to the panorama, from the Belvedere di Bonaventura, you can visit one of the most revered places in Bagnoregio: the Grotta di San Bonaventura. An ancient Etruscan chamber tomb, placed on a balcony overlooking Civita and overlooking the valley. The legend is linked to the place according to which the little Giovanni di Fidanza, the future Saint Bonaventure, was healed here from a fatal disease by Saint Francis, during his stay in Bagnoregio.
San Bonaventura is the most illustrious character of the city, he made the name of Civita famous throughout Europe: religious, philosopher and theologian, he was bishop, cardinal and general minister of the Franciscan Order; he is considered one of the most important biographers of St. Francis of Assisi.


Civita di Bagnoregio

A bit of history

Civita di Bagnoregio was originally founded by the Etruscans 2,500 years ago!

The city at that time consisted of a single urban agglomeration and the acropolis with the temples and the forum, the center of civil and religious life, was located on the site of the current Civita, enclosed between the two rivers of Rio Chiaro and Rio Torbido , surrounded and protected by the Valle dei Calanchi, this small plateau was in a strategic position. Furthermore, the presence of the nearby mouth of the Tiber river constituted an important commercial and communication route.

Once you have crossed the entire bridge you will arrive at the Porta di Santa Maria, the only access to the village left (In the past Civita had 5 access gates which over the centuries have been rendered unusable by the progressive landslide and erosion that has hit this place).
The Renaissance palaces of the Colesanti, the Bocca and the Alemanni stand in the alleys with the typical low houses with balconies and external stairways typical of medieval architecture.


... but what are the badlands?

The geologist of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology Pierfrancesco Burrato defined them as "a geomorphological phenomenon of erosion of the surface layers of the soil that is mainly produced by the effect of the flow of water on clayey rocks, with scarce vegetation cover and therefore poorly protected from runoff. The term calanchi therefore indicates the furrows in the ground along the side of a mountain or a hill that represent narrow and sharp drainages ".

Basically, they are the furrows that are formed on certain types of rocks (clayey) due to the action of water over time and usually group in small valleys. The result is very particular landscapes, which have evolved over millions of years.
Particularly famous and spectacular are those that surround Civita di Bagnoregio.
The evolution of the territory is particularly evident along the morphological saddle of access to Civita which from 1764 to today has undergone a lowering of about 40 meters.


Museo delle frane

From a country that dies to a country that struggles to live.

This is the manifesto of the Geological Museum of the Landslides located on the second floor of Palazzo Alemanni - Mazzocchi, in Piazza San Donato.
The "Geological and Landslides Museum" is building the "Territorial Documentation Center", equipped with a conference room, an archive-library, a multimedia laboratory (also equipped to function as an archive consultation room), and an exhibition room .

1. Establishment of a permanent technical-scientific committee made up of experts in the fields of geomorphology, geotechnics and engineering, who are preferably also attentive connoisseurs of the Civita area; the committee must have the role, institutionally legitimated, of constantly monitoring and analyzing the territory, continuously creating and updating the list of interventions to be carried out, defining their characteristics and priorities, with a view to planning in accordance with the dynamics of the territory.
2. Preliminary general study on the geomorphological and hydrogeological state of the cliffs of Civita and Bagnoregio aimed at the qualitative and expeditious estimate of the risk level (danger x risk elements x vulnerability) associated with the ongoing instability phenomena.
3. Definition of the slope monitoring plan.
4. First draft of the intervention plan (location, characteristics and priorities).
5. Constant updating of the cognitive status of the territory on the basis of instrumental data deriving from the monitoring, and relative adjustment of the intervention plan.


Civita on the screen

Today Civita di Bagnoregio has 10 inhabitants (some say they are even only 7), inhabitants who are however mostly famous! Just think of Crepet, Tornatore and Bracchetti.
It has been used several times as a film set on the big and small screen. From Totò to Alberto Sordi.

Recently, the 2018 film “You can kiss the groom” by Alessandro Genovesi was almost entirely shot here, with an unlikely Diego Abatantuono "mayor" of Civita.

There are also numerous commercials in which he appears (Tim, Amazon, Jams Santa Rosa ....)




For guided tours and information on where to sleep and eat, visit the website:




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Post Author: Marilena

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