Civita di Bagnoregio city guide.
Civita di Bagnoregio the dying town lies on the border of Lazio and Umbria, in central Italy. - Population 25 inhabitants, 462 m above sea level .s.l., no cars, no pollution, no lodging, a few shops and only one restaurant.
Civita di Bagnoregio stands on an unstable clayey rock between the lake of Bolsena and the Tevere river, in the province of Lazio. The tufa rock upon which Civita di Bagnoregio was built rests on layers of clay which over time tend to slip downwards, thus causing the collapse of sections of the rock above them. This explains why it is called il paese che muore, the dying town.
It rises isolated on a rocky spur and dominates the valley of the Gullies. Thanks to its isolation Civita's medieval architectonic structure has been preserved intact. It is linked to Bagnoregio by a single bridge. In ancient times people could enter Civita by five gates, but nowadays the only approach to the town is the gate called "Santa Maria" or "della Cava".
The town planning scheme of the entire built-up areas has Etruscan origins, but the architectonic covering is medieval and Renaissance. Various medieval sculptures are included on the arch and on the walls of the doorway. On the rock under belvedere "S. Francesco", a small Etruscan necropolis has been discovered. Also the cave of "S. Bonaventura" is an Etruscan tomb.
The first monument you see is the "Porta Santa Maria", surmounted by a pair of lions clawing 2 men's heads. Further on, the street Santa Maria widens on the main square, the center of the town, where the Romanesque church of San Donato can be admired. It preserves a beautiful ligneous crucifix attributed to Donatello's school and a fresco by a pupil of Perugino.
It is a real pleasure to sit in the square, near the small coffee bar tasting a glass of cold wine and enjoying the silence, the quiet of the past and la dolcezza di fare niente (the sweetness of doing nothing).
The Renaissance Palazzos of "Colesanti" Bocca and Alemanni, stand out in the narrow streets characterized by low houses with balconies and external staircases, typical elements of medieval architecture.
In the nearby "Bagnoregio" noteworthy are the Renaissance "Porta Albana", attributed to the famous architect Ippolito Scalza, the "Tempietto di San Bonaventura" with a greek cross plan and dome preserving a miniated Bible of the 12th century and an interesting reliquary. Do not miss seeing the Gothic-Romanesque church of "Annunziata" with a nice bell-tower, rich in art works and frescoes by Taddeo di Bartolo, and Giovanni di Paolo.
- Easter, Good Friday: historical recalling of the Passion. Very impressive and suggestive costumed procession with carriage of the 4th C crucifix from the Duomo of Civita to the Cathedral of Bagnoregio. The town is lit by the torches and candles of the faithful.
- May 1: walking through the "calanchi" (gullies)
- Palio della Tonna asses race, twice a year, 1st Sunday of June and 2nd Sunday of September. It takes place in the main Square of Civita di Bagnoregio.
- July 15: Feast of San Bonaventura da Bagnoregio, the patron saint.
- August 22: Feast of Sant'Ildebrando, traditional fair, spectacles and fireworks.
- August: Civita Arte: International theatrical and musical review.
- Christmas time: Christmas crib with life size statues.
- Local dishes: Tagliatelle with chicken giblets sauce (excellent), Bruschetta: Bread toasted on an open fire, drizzled with the finest oil, rubbed with garlic and topped with chopped tomatoes. The wine is good.
By car: State road SS1 Cassia to Montefiascone, then take the SS 74 Umbro-Casentinese towards Orvieto, after 10 km turn right and follow the road signs towards Bagnoregio.
By motorway, Autostrada A1 Florence-Rome, Orvieto exit.
By train: Orvieto train station, Florence-Rome line. Train schedules
By air: International flights to Rome -