In the central region of Lazio lies the town of Cività di Bagnoregio. Cività di Bagnoregio was built in an unfortunate position so it is destined to fall apart. If you are looking for something unique to see, this is definitely the place for you!
How to reach Cività di Bagnoregio?
If you are travelling by car coming both from the south or the north you must get off the A1 tollway at Orvieto and from there follow indications for Bagnoregio, the ride will be just 30 minutes.
If instead you travel by train, be ready for a little bit of adventure, but you will reach it some how. You can catch a train to Orvieto Scalo or Viterbo. From these stations you can catch the COTRAL bus which will take you to Bagnoregio.
No vehicles are allowed in the town so getting there is quite challenging. You can reach it only by walking the steep footbridge (built in 1965), but once inside you will remain enchanted by its uniqueness.
A little bit of history
The name comes from the latin expression “Balneum regis” which means “bath of the king”. There is, in fact, a legend that says that the water of a thermal source in this area cured the wounds of the Lombard king Desiderius. But, there are just a few testimonies that say that in Bagnoregio a thermal source was actually present.
It was an ancient Etruscan settlement built on a hill of tuff (which is a volcanic rock). The tuff is the town’s worst enemy and it is the reason why the town is slowly disappearing. (Another town in the same area that was built on tuff is Pitigliano.)
What to see in Cività di Bagnoregio?
It is definitely a place worth seeing, perhaps because there are no cars and just a few inhabitants left, but certainly inside Cività di Bagnoregio it seems that time has come to a standstill.
From the town you will have a view of the Valle dei Calanchi, which is really different from the rest of the Italian panoramas, and although we are right in the center of Italy, it feels as if one is quite far away from the rest of the country.
The principal sites to see are:
- Porta S. Maria: it is the only door left in Cività di Bagnoregio. You will walk through it at the end of the bridge.
- Chiesa S. Donato: the church is in the principal square of the town. This church has been restored several times because of the frequent earthquakes that have hit the area.
- THE “GEOLOGICAL AND LANDSLIDES MUSEUM“: it shows the geology of the area of Bagnoregio, the instabilities of its slopes, the historical landslides and the struggle of Cività for its own survival.
For more info:
Located inside Palazzo Alemanni, in S. Donato Square.
Interesting events in Cività di Bagnoregio:
- Live nativity scene: it takes place every year during the Christmas season in the alleys of the town with spectacular effects.
- Palio della Tonna: the first Sunday of June and the second Sunday of September, when the districts of Bagnoregio compete while riding donkeys.
While having a Granita at a local ice-cream shop, two inhabitants explained that it is calculated that the town loses 5 cm of ground every year, plus the area is subject to landslides, so very often it loses more than 5 cm per year. In fact, people that return after several years, notice that it has grown smaller</>.
Now, the Italian institutions are trying to include Cività di Bagnoregio under the patronage of the Unesco Heritage Sites in order to save it from its destiny. But so far, no solution has been found and it can only be called “the dying town” – “la città che muore“…