Civita di Bagnoregio, nicknamed the dying city, is a charming Medieval village located atop a high hill in the Province of Viterbo. Civita stands on a very precarious land, made up of tuff stone and clay, subject to continual erosion. Time seems to stand still in Civita: you can only reach it by foot, crossing a cement bridge to the benefit the citizens who live here – 8 people to be exact – and the numerous tourist coming from all over the world to visit (an estimated 200,000 tourists per year).
A fairy tale scene opens up before your eyes as you leave your car in the parking lot over in the town of Bagnoregio and walk the length of the bridge. The town seems to be suspended in the air, between the blue of the sky and the bright white of the badlands atop which it stands. Inside the town, included on the list of Italy’s most beautiful cities, you breathe in a surreal and enchanted atmosphere, where silence invades your spirit, and the thought that these clay, unstable cliffs, formed by the water from the rain and torrents, which slowly but surely will drag down its remains. History is in the air in Civita: there are actually testimonies that this village existed back in the Villanovan age, around the 9th Century B.C., yet, it was when the Etruscans dominated it that experienced its most vibrant period.
Then it fell under the Roman dominion and later was invaded by Visigoths, Byzantines, and Lombards, Civita received its finishing blow in 1764, with the collapse of other portions of the city. However, interest in the city’s distinct morphological and environmental situation is helping the name of Civita to bounce back, at the media level as well as that of tourism. Thousands of Italian and international tourists who visit the towns narrow streets and who enter the lovely artisan workshops, in which you can witness ancient craft. Losing yourself in the maze of alleys, some of which overlook the void, allows your gaze to be enraptured toward the Valle dei Calanchi (Valley of the Badlands), an amazing scene which appears to be a motionless, sea of pure white.
The traditions of Bagnoregio are many, from cultural activity, such as those offered by the Center of Bonaventurian Studies, CivitArte, jazz festivals and culinary activities.
You can watch the Tonna in June, where donkeys ridden bareback walk Civita’s piazza. The summer is rich with festivals and fairs, from the wild boar festival to that of the rabbit in August. Additional cultural activities are offered by CivitArte, and in July there is the festival St. Bonaventura, the patron saint.