Civita is one of those places that reminds us that Italy always finds a way to fascinate us… In recent years, the town has become a magnet for tourists. Most of them rush to see him before he disappears… Yep… Civita di Bagnoregio is also known as “la città che muore” or “The Dying City”!
Where is located?
Bagnoregio is located in the northernmost part of the Lazio region, almost to the border with Umbria. It is located around 120 km from the capital Rome and 180 km from Florence. A great choice for a stop on a trip between the two cities or for a combination with a tour of Tuscany and Umbria. In fact… Bagnoregio and Civita are two different cities next to each other… But for that after a while…
The best way to get there is by car! There is no direct train to there, but you can combine it with a bus from Viterbo or Orvieto. The lines aren’t very popular and the hours are very rare… That’s why I recommend the car… You can park at the end of Bagnoregio, from where the path to Civita starts – Parking Civita di Bagnoregio. Parking is a bit expensive… 2 euro per hour, but there is no many choices.
See places to stay in Civita di Bagnoregio
More about Civita di Bagnoregio
Civita has existed for over 2500 years! This place has remained a legacy from the Etruscans, but today is threatened with extinction… The local population numbers about 10 people! Unless we count the colony of cats that inhabit it… A big part of people move to the nearby suburbs, where today the larger of the two cities is located – Bagnoregio. Why? Because Civita is disappearing! The soils under the city are collapsing under the influence of erosion… According to experts, at present, Civita is 1 / 3rd of what the city has represented in the past… Many buildings are doomed to fall into the precipice… Numerous landslides and a major earthquake in the 17th century helped make this process even faster, and so many people sought refuge in the stable part of Bagnoregio, making it a larger city.
The connection between the two parts is made on a high pedestrian bridge, which takes us through the “valley of the ravines” (so called area around Civita). The bridge was built in 1965 from reinforced concrete after the Germans destroyed the previous during World War II. Its length is around 366 m and is the only option to enter the city! From soon the municipality is allowing locals to ride bikes and bicycles on it.
The views to the cliff
Before we cross the bridge to the city, it’s time for some photos… Civita is one of the most photogenic places in Italy and has been the decor for many movies! The perfect view to the city is revealed by a built-up area above the Grotto di San Bonaventura (cave where St. Francis of Assisi spent the night) – HERE. From here you can really feel the beauty of this place … It’s fabulous, isn’t it? And thinking that it’s about to disappear…
The next look at the medieval buildings on the rock is revealed frontally, just before the ticket office… Yep… look directly at the Santa Maria Gate, the only one left today from the former 5 gates of the city… The high volcanic rock rises to 520 meters, and the surrounding precipices make it look even more mythical… The main part of it is of marine origin, and the upper parts are formed of lava and tuff. It looks as if Civita is in conflict with nature and erosion is causing unpreventable damage…
Development of tourism in Civita
In recent years, the place has become known by another nickname: “the city that wants to live”! In 2013, its tourist growth began. The organization of many festivals and cultural events begins. A marketing trick is introduced – an entrance fee to visit Civita. A little risky, but more than brilliant! Instead of acting as a disincentive for visitors, the fee attracts them. If you pay to see it, then it’s worth it… In the beginning the price is symbolic – 1.50 euro. In 2015 it becomes 3 euro, and from 2018 it is 5 euro. In 2009-2010, the area was visited by about 40,000 people… In 2018, Civita alone was visited by 1 million tourists! Thus, tourism significantly improves the lives of the local population – new places for accommodation and meals are opened in Bagnoregio, local taxes have been abolished and a bunch of other positive things for the residents…
On the streets of Civita di Bagnoregio
Crossing the ancient port of Santa Maria, we find ourselves in a medieval idyll with Renaissance marks. Everything is so authentic… The irreconcilability with the hard fate and the thirst for life of Civita exuded from every corner! Via S. Maria del Cassero main street takes us to the central Piazza San Donato… It is the heart of the city and the place where locals comment on the crowds of tourists. As much as Civita’s popularity is favorable to them, you will also find the opposite view that at the moment tourists are too much for the limits of the small town…
The Church of San Donato is the main attraction of the square. It was built in Romanesque style and later reconstructed to take on its Renaissance appearance. The ancient Etruscan columns are also impressive… The Museum of Geology, which reveals interesting details about the area and its change, is also located here.
Another landmark is Antica Civitas, a small museum that recreates peasant life. It was built in a cave from the time of the Etruscans. There are no working hours and the opportunity to hit it open is pure luck. We didn’t have one… 😀
By the end of Civita you will come across several colorful courtyards decorated with many flower pots stairs and streets ending above the precipice… And when the houses are finished… you have the opportunity to go down and make sure that they really hang over the precipice…
For a final
Civita di Bagnoregio is the perfect stop for every tourist in the region! The magnetic appearance of the place attracts and captivates… And the walk through it takes you to a life that only 10 people are left to live… Life on the edge of the rock… literally!