Civita di Bagnoregio | Excursion

Civita di bagnoregio – the dying town

Civita di Bagnoregio is a town in the Province of Viterbo, a suburb of the of Bagnoregio, 1 kilometre east from it.
It is about 120 kilometres north of Rome.

Civita di Bagnoregio was founded by Etruscans more than 2,500 years ago.

At the end of the 17th century, the bishop and the municipal government were forced to move to Bagnoregio because of a major earthquake that accelerated the old town’s decline.

Bagnoregio, the current main town, was in ancient times a suburb of the hill town Civita, in the same comune now known as Civita di Bagnoregio. In ancient times this was called Novempagi and Balneum Regium, whence the medieval name of Bagnorea.

civita di bagnoregio tour
Civita di Bagnoregio – seen from Bagnoregio

In the 19th century, Civita di Bagnoregio’s location was turning into an island and the pace of the erosion quickened as the layer of clay below the stone was reached in the area where today’s bridge is situated.
Bagnoregio continues as a small but prosperous town, while the older site became known in Italian as La citt√† che muore (“The Dying Town”)

The city is also much admired for its architecture spanning several hundred years.
Civita di Bagnoregio owes much of its unaltered condition to its relative isolation; the town was able to withstand most intrusions of modernity as well as the destruction brought by two world wars.

The highlights are:

  • Romanesque Arch. At the entrance to Civita, this arch was cut by the Etruscans 2,500 years ago
  • Renaissance Palace remains. All that remains of an old palace is the facade, the rest collapsed into the canyon from erosion of the hill Civita sits on.
  • Church, Piazza S. Donato, 31. This church is on the site of an Etruscan temple, and after that a Roman temple. It has a fine campanile (bell tower), altar, and crucifix.
  • Etruscan Caves. A series of caves at the east end of town, one of which was turned into a chapel, called the Chapel of the Incarcerated.

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