il paese che muore (the town that is dying)

Although just over the border in the Lazio region, the small town of Civita di Bagnoregio is not very far from Orvieto, and absolutely one of the most spectacular places to visit. You’ll be taken by its incredible site on its own crumbing plateau of tufa stone.

Dating back to the Etruscans, it is believed the city was founded more than 2,500 years ago. Probably its most famous citizen was Saint Bonaventure (died in 1274), whose home has long since slipped off the edge. Hence the town being referred to as dying. The town has been on the World Monuments Fund’s Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites since 2006.

The view, shown above, is of the town from a viewing station across the valley. From here one descends and walks across the walkway and up into the town, which is beautifully tranquil. There are lovely restaurants so I recommend a morning visit and lunch before walking back and on to Orvieto, about half an hour’s drive.

It’s definitely worth the side trip to visit this extraordinary place. Photographers love Cività for spectacular photos in all sorts of weather. Seeing the town shrouded in clouds is pretty wonderful. It’s a bout a 20 minute walk from the viewing station to the town via a long walkway. Where comfortable shoes and you’ll have a great time. And it’s ok to venture out of Umbria every so often.

PARKING: It’s a jaunt to Civita di Bagnoregio but I assure you it will be worth it. Be prepared for a hike though. Once you park your car you will walk to the panorama spot, then down about 75 steps and then you’ll have a 20 minute strenuous walk up a large walkway to the city itself. This is a walking only town. There is also a fee for crossing the bridge. Ticket both is on the left as you head for the bridge. You might need to use a restroom before you set off. There’s a restroom right before you get to the panorama spot. There’s also bar which might let you use their restroom if you buy something.

On your handheld, click View larger map for directions. Make sure you put enough time on the meter so you won’t have to rush back.