Civita di Bagnoregio, the dying city

Civita di Bagnoregio is a treasure chest box containing 2500 years of history. It is a small hamlet in the municipality of Bagnoregio, in upper Lazio, on the border with Umbria, inside the wonderful Valle dei Calanchi, in the province of Viterbo. It is called ‘The Dying city because it officially has 11 inhabitants and to reach it you have to cross a long concrete viaduct that leads from the nearest hill to the gateway to the historic centre.

The emptying of the town is due to its precarious structural condition, caused in particular by landslide sand earthquakes that have reduced its extension.

As a result, buildings, towers and ancient gateways to the village have crumbled in the valley. In its heyday there were five, today only one remains: Porta Santa Maria, also known as ‘Porta della Cava’, which is currently the only possible access to the village and has become a symbol ofthe place.

Civita was founded 2500 years ago by the Etruscans and then became a lively civitas in Roman times. For centuries, the inhabitants of Civita had to fight against erosion and landslides that progressively limited the area of the old town and always built new access routes to the town, such as the Bucaione, the access tunnel dug directly into the sedimentary rock of the mountain.

The old town is a member of the association of The Most Beautiful Borgos of Italy. In fact, due to its evocative geographic position and medieval layout, it is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year and has been used several times as a film set.

The characteristic that immediately jumps to the eye when observing the small hamlet, and for which the village is so famous throughout the world, is that of being in an isolated position in relation to the rest of the villages.

Tourists come from all over the world to admire its timeless appearance and the magical atmosphere that can be perceived when walking through its narrow alleys.

Today, in fact, Civita is experiencing a new phase of development, thanks to the massive flow of visitors.


Written by
Elena Martinolli