Ancient town of Civita di Bagnoregio

posted Nov 2, 2011, 10:23 AM by Stefano Capoccioni
Day trip from Rome to Civita di Bagnoregio
Set on a tufaceous rock based on a layer of clay, Civita di Bagnoregio, known as “the dying city”, is one of the most evocative towns of the Central Italy. The leaching of the clay during the centuries has caused the landslides which eroded the town, leaving just a few buildings in spite of the vivid center it used to be.

The prosperous medieval town, which bloomed on the ancient path which led from the Tiber Valley to the Bolsena lake, was funded by the Etruscan, but had its period of maximum prestige in the Middle Ages. Under the Papacy, free fief or little City State under the rule of Orvieto, the town arose to its splendor, gave birth to one of the most important medieval scholastic theologians and philosophers, San Bonaventura (Bonaventure), was a lively city in the Renaissance and then rapidly faded: in 1695 a violent earthquake shook the rock and destroyed the first dwellings.

Civita was rapidly abandoned and soon became a ghost town, with tottering buildings and very few stubborn people living there, careless of the frequent earthquakes which, house by house, brought down the city.

Nowadays many efforts have been made, and Civita has been protected and consolidated. A long pedestrian bridge was built to link it to the town of Bagnoregio. Although the feeling of moving in an almost dead city is persistent. Walking through the city, enjoying the medieval architecture, crossing the roads which end nowhere give a very different point of view on the history of this part of Italy. This is one of the most suggestive visit you can experience in your stay.