Civita di Bagnoregio


Civita di Bagnoregio is located in Tuscia on the border between Tuscany and Lazio. About a decade ago, no one had heard of this town. It had exactly 11 residents. Why? Well, for starters, Civita di Bagnoregio is crumbling bit by bit into the valley below.

Ok, lets backtrack. The main entrance is a huge stone passageway, cut by the Etruscans 2,500 years ago when Bagnoregio was Bagnorea. The name probably derives from Balneum Regis, referring to the presence of thermal waters with particular therapeutic properties. The town flourished through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance until disaster struck. On 10 June 1695 an earthquake hit Civita, separating it (with the formation of a spectacular cliff) from the other two districts of Mercato (today Mercatello) and Rota.

That earthquake signalled the beginning of a mass exodus from Civita di Bagnoregio. The town was never the same and in the centuries that followed more and more pieces of the cliff eroded away, taking any buildings with them into the abyss.

The precarious setting earned Civita the nickname “The Dying City” or “The City in the Sky”.

Fast forward to today and Civita di Bagnoregio is now one of Tuscia’s and Central Italy’s most popular tourist attractions as thousands of visitors flock to see what’s left of the town.

With so few inhabitants and neither the means nor the desire to modernise, Civita di Bagnoregio has remained preserved in its medieval cloak. The city’s most famous native was the 13th Century philosopher and saint Bonaventure. It is a study in close observation. A gorgeous day trip into what Italy looked like before the tourist attractions and postwar palazzos. A lovely taste of rural life and the hardy and hard working locals who are left holding up the fort.

A couple of years ago, Civita di Bagnoregio decided to charge visitors a small entrance few – €5 on the weekend, €3 on weekdays – to visit the town. The money goes towards preserving the remaining buildings and holding back the tides of erosion.

Civita di Bagnoregio will inevitably disappear when the final pieces crumble into the spectacular Valle dei Calanchi below. Knowing this and knowing that nothing can be done to prevent it makes your visit all the more special and… macabre.

But the town is hardly dead no matter what its nickname suggests. Instead it is a bustling mess of visitors and locals, gossiping nonni and the rare child or two. Its social calendar is filled with fascinating traditional festivals and there are plenty of great restaurants where you can sit and soak up the splendour around you. The views of the valley are breathtaking, but so are the tiny streets and flower-filled piazzas. It’s also been officially declared a “Borgho più bello d’Italia” (One of Italy’s most Beautiful Towns).

An important note, Civita di Bagnoregio can only be reached on foot. Supplies are mopeded in, while the rest of us must walk the rather long and tiring footbridge that connects the town to the parking lot back on the ‘mainland’.


What to see in Civita di Bagnoregio

Despite its nickname, during the tourist season, Civita bustles with day trippers. Most visitors come to Civita di Bagnoregio for its incredible views of the surrounding valley and its beautifully preserved buildings. The town doesn’t have breathtaking tourist guidebook monuments that you can tick off your bucket list. This is just Italy. a quiet little village town still stuck in the Middle Ages. A piece of history without the hangups of modernity or the invasion of souvenir shops and tacky tourist menus.

A visit to the Civita di Bagnoregio is like a treasure hunt. Blink and you’ll miss the Renaissance portals and ivy draped courtyards. Decide not to sit in the piazza and watch the locals and you’ll miss the chance to experience the town in all its complexities and beauty. That said, there are a few gems that can’t be missed. These are our favourites:


Museo Geologico e delle Frane

The Museo Geologico e delle Frane, located in Piazza San Donato, in the ancient Renaissance palace that belonged to the Alemanni family and dates back to 1585. The museum is divided into four rooms, each dedicated to a different topic: Sala 1 earthquakes, Sala 2 fossils, Sala 3 history, Sala 4 Civita.

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Chiesa di San Donato

The Chiesa di San Donato is located in the heart of the town and gives its name to the main square. Built in the 5th century, it quickly became a Cathedral. The Church still shows interesting elements of Romanesque art. Important restoration works were carried out in the first decade of the 16th century, to continue then in the same century, with the enrichment of the facade and the central portal, with Renaissance stylistic elements. Following the earthquake of 1695, the diocese’s headquarters were moved to nearby Bagnoregio, with the construction of a new cathedral dedicated to San Nicola.

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La Grotta di San Bonaventura

The Grotta di San Bonaventura, one of the most evocative places in Civita di Bagnoregio where, according to legend, San Francesco cared for a child, who later became San Bonaventure, the second founder of the Franciscan order of monks.

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Guided Tours of Civita di Bagnoregio

We organize customized guided tours of the village of Civita di Bagnoregio. A local guide will accompany you on a walk inside the walls, showing you all the most evocative corners of the village and telling you all the local legends. The visit will end with lunch at a traditional Tuscia restaurant. On request, we can also organise transport to and from your hotel.

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where to eat in civita di bagnoregio

After a walk through history, there is nothing better than a bite to eat and a taste of the traditional dishes of Alta Tuscia Viterbese! There are quite a few restaurants in town, some hidden in picturesque valleys, others with panoramic view of the valley and the old buildings of Civita di Bagnoregio. Here is a list of some of our favourite restaurants in town:


Alma Civita in Via Civita snc Tel. 0761792415


Arco del Gusto in Via Santa Maria del Cassero Tel. 0761792524


Hostaria La Cantina Cell. 3395886654


Pozzo dei Desideri Cell. 3480387815



Trattoria Antico Forno Tel. 0761760016


Wine Bar Profili DiVini in Via Civita Bonaventura, Cell. 3272307304


Bar Enoteca La Piazzetta in Via Porta S.Maria



Jewel on the hill

This place is magical and breathtaking, it was built by the Etruscans and sits on a hill with stunning views all around. Only accessible by the walkway, no vehicles. There are a few restaurants that are very good, our favorite is Alma Civita.

Roby / Tripadvisor

The best day trip

This was an amazing day… Probably one of our favourite days…The climb was well worth it…It is strenuous for the less-fit or if you have physical challenges so beware of that. Even if you cannot make it into Civita itself, you can see it from Bagnoregio. We made the hike walked around the old city a bit then had lunch in the old city.. Enjoyed a bottle of the local wine Est!Est!!Est!!!…and some gelato.. We got buzzed because we are not drinkers then had a time crossing the bridge back to Bagnoregio! All in all a great day!

Veronica / Tripadvisor

Breathtaking

Just absolutely beautiful!!!!! It’s peaceful and has about 6 restaurants. It’s a bit of a walk so take a water bottle but it’s way worth it!!

Francesco / Tripadvisor

Incredible views

Absolutely beautiful city filled with history and great photo opportunities. It is a lot of walking and would be difficult with a stroller or wheelchair. But if you can make the climb it is well worth it! Grab a gelato before you head in 🙂

Cristina / Tripadvisor

Stunning city

We came to visit with our friends who had been here before and were very pleased that we did. We visited on an extremely hot (37 degrees C / 98 degrees F) Sunday so that may have been a mistake…started with all of the parking at the shuttle bus lot being full so we had to park at the top of the hill in a residential area. Then, our friends wanted to walk to the city. Second mistake? The walk across the bridge was beautiful but unbelievably hot. When we finally arrived at the top, our first impression was amazement at what we had just accomplished and at the fabulous panoramic view that we had.

Veronica / Tripadvisor

Amazing site – the island in the sky

It is well worth visiting the amazing old town of Civita di Bagnoregio sitting atop tufa volcanic rock. Yes, the walk up the bridge to the old town gets the heart rate going – but it is well worth the effort!

Mandrake / Tripadvisor

Visit before it’s too late

“The dying town” as it is called by the locals, it is an astonishing (and windy) place, where you can live for one day a quite realistic italian small town life in a strategic position over the valley. The few locals are quite welcoming and you can have a walk trough the town and eat some very delicious local dishes. Less than 2 hours drive from Rome. Must see.

Vmzeronove / Tripadvisor

Wish I could give it 10 stars

This is an absolute must! If you’re anywhere near Orvieto, you should put this on your list. It’s unlike any other hill town you’ve ever seen. As other reviews have mentioned, yes, it’s a taxing hike up – but sooooo worth it. The views along the way – and once you’re there – are spectacular. The little town has undergone many changes since I first went there several years ago. More shops and restaurants but it’s still unique and a favorite place in all of Italy for me.

Stev / Tripadvisor

Extremely unique town

On a trip from Rome to Orvieto we stopped at Civita di Bagnoregio and were awestruck by its beauty and uniqueness. It’s a must stop if you are anywhere near.

Marazzini / Tripadvisor

Unlike anything I’ve ever seen

I am overweight and unfit, but this was worth the agony! A very taxing hike, but the views are spectacular and could never be appreciated by pictures alone. Our lunch was simple but very tasty. Be prepared to encounter many other tourists!

Francesca / Tripadvisor

The suspended city

A small town where time seems to be suspended and everything keeps a strange quiet. The sightseeing is spectacular: this town dominates the surrounding valley and is elevated on a natural hill with sharps walls. A single long stairway connects the small town with the surrounding land. The fee for the visit is 6 euros per person. In the town there are several restaurants and bistrot. It deserves the visit.

Vmzeronove / Tripadvisor

Jewel on the hill

This place is magical and breathtaking, it was built by the Etruscans and sits on a hill with stunning views all around. Only accessible by the walkway, no vehicles. There are a few restaurants that are very good, our favorite is Alma Civita.

Stev / Tripadvisor



Visit civita di bagnoregio

You need to buy a ticket to visit Civita di Bagnoregio. Tickets are available at the infopoint just outside the parking lot. From there, you must walk along along bridge over the gorgeous Valle dei Calanchi and into town. It’s pedestrian access only. You can’t drive into Civita di Bagnoregio.


Infopoint Civita di Bagnoregio
Località Mercatello Bagnoregio (VT)

+39 3248660940

promotuscia.bagnoregio@yahoo.it


Opening hours

From January to December
Every day

From 8am to 8pm



Entry ticket

€3 weekdays
€5 weekends and public holidays



Photos of civita di bagnoregio


events in civita di bagnoregio

Palio della tonna

An ancient event linked to the rural and agricultural tradition of the territory, the Palio della Tonna remains one one of the town’s most anticipated events. It takes place on the first Sunday of June and on the second Sunday of September! The jockeys ride donkeys through the main square, making three rounds in a circle and then head off for another series of races. The best two jockeys qualify for the final and the winner is awarded the Palio painting.

Civit’Arte

Exhibition of art, music and culture in the summer of Civita di Bagnoregio, organized by the municipality of Bagnoregio, with the patronage of the Lazio Regional Giovernment, the Province of Viterbo, the Minister of Youth and Civita. A series of events dedicated to music, theatre and culture, it’s held between the months of July and August. There are plenty of famous faces, theatrical performances, concerts and much more. A great pick if you want to see grassroots art in Tuscany.

Festa della Castagna

One of the town’s oldest festivals, dedicated to the chestnut, a local export of the territory of Civita di Bagnoregio. In the past, chestnuts were much more than just a nut, but the lifeblood of the area, so it makes sense that they are still celebrated with a big party! During the festival, you can enjoy roasted chestnuts, craft markets and small shows and concerts, as well as the beauty of the town of Civita di Bagnoregio in autumn. The festival is held in October each year.

presepe vivente

Words are not enough to describe the magic and charm of this event that makes the city of Civita di Bagnoregio famous. The Living Nativity Scene is a unique traditional event. In the lead up to Christmas, the town is transformed into Little Bethlehem and welcomes the historical re-enactment of the nativity. In the streets, you will meet shepherds with their own flock, blacksmiths, bakers, weavers, and of course the inevitable grotto where locals play Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

How to get to Civita di Bagnoregio


Civita di Bagnoregio (VT)