Civita: Wonderful Ancient Hill Town

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Bagnoregio, Italy
Civita:  Wonderful Ancient Hill Town - Civita from midway on the pedestrian bridge
Civita:  Wonderful Ancient Hill Town - Civita from across the canyon in Bagnoregio
Civita:  Wonderful Ancient Hill Town - Pictures of adjacent town taken at museum
Civita:  Wonderful Ancient Hill Town - Old Town Square in Civita
Civita:  Wonderful Ancient Hill Town - Old Town Square in Civita
Civita:  Wonderful Ancient Hill Town - Chimney in Civita

Civita: Wonderful Ancient Hill Town Bagnoregio Reviews

docdotcalm24vt docdotca…
41 reviews
Civita di Bagnoregio: Amazing Hilltop Town Jan 12, 2017
Overwhelmed with awe was the first emotion the emotion I felt viewing Civita for the first time from the bluff above Bagnoreigo. The view of Civita comes to you suddenly as you walk the approximate one mile from where the bus drops you off in town in Bagnoregio.

From that first vantage point Civita almost as if it is completely isolated from the rest of the world. The only link to neighboring Bagnoregio is a long and steep pedestrian bridge. There are no motor vehicles allowed in Civita, only an occasional motorcyclist with a sidecar bringing goods into the town and a bicyclist or two.

Getting There

For those without a car the little fortress of Civita can be reached from the impressive and popular town of Orvieto. We took the bus from the middle of Plaza Cohen. Tickets can be either purchased on board or from the little tobacco shop just up from the square. The bus will have a small sign in the window indicating Bagnoregio. Fare one-way is about 2 euros and buses depart around 10 a.m. and the last back bus from Bagnoregio is around 1745.

A Little History

The town of Civita was an important part of the Etruscan civilization going back over 2500 years ago. It grew because of its location on an important trading route and proximity to Orvieto.

Civita and its neighboring city of Bagnoregio were once connected by a more direct path. However slow erosion of the canyon walls and a 1695 earthquake contributed to the demise of the town. Many residents of Civita over the years became just too fearful of having their houses fall in the canyon so they moved out across the canyon to Bagnoregio. The area was also heavily shelled during World War 2 causing additional damage. A new pedestrian bridge linking the two communities was completed in 1966. Today the soft tufa rock continues to slowly erode into the canyon as you can see from my second picture below. Several concepts are being explored to stabilize the rock including the introduction of large steel stabilizing rods. Time will tell......but don't wait. See it now please.

Today in the fall of 2015 there is still little to do for most people when they make their trip to Civita. A few restaurants, a bed and breakfast, a church or two, a museum, and an olive press exhibit. Yet. Civita is not for your typical hll town. it is for walking and listening to the sounds. Enjoying the wide array of medieval buildings some of which have remained surprisingly unaltered for hundreds of years.

I was fascinated by looking at the variation in materials that were used to construct the many houses. . Likewise I was intrigued to see how repairs had been made over the years on some buildings that over one thousand years old.

As the tourists that come to Civita during the day start to disappear late in the afternoon the town takes on a new form. Listen carefully and hear the wind whistling down streets and up the canyon. Cats that were out on the prowl for food suddenly begin to disappear in to their hidden nooks and crannies. . The silence in this once very urban town was almost as striking as being on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Yet this was a canyon but one that had been responsible for the partial demise of a town.

While guidebooks suggest that Civita is a dying city we saw numerous signs of life and rebirth on our visits. . Many homes now show evidence of occupation. Wealthy residents of Rome have found peace and solace in buying and rehabbing a home in Civita. Walking through the town you can see construction materials on site and saws and other electrical equipment can be heard in certain quarters of the city. One resident of the city said she is offended by the notion that homes are being bought here by wealthy Italians as a summer resort. She indicated that many of the purchases or leases are by ordinary people who love the beauty and solitude of the town and want to see it come back to life.
Civita from across the canyon in B…
Civita from midway on the pedestri…
Old Town Square in Civita
Chimney in Civita
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Paulovic says:
Very nice!! I love such towns, too!
Posted on: Feb 14, 2017
spocklogic says:
Good to know of this place. I was in Orvieto this last summer on my way to Bolsena. Civita looks worth seeing next time I'm in this area.
Posted on: Jan 12, 2017
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photo by: 19amytastic