I don’t really have a bucket list, but Civita di Bagnoregio is somewhere I’ve dreamed of visiting, and when we started planning our trip to Italy I couldn’t believe the hilltop village is just across the valley from where we were staying in Lubriano!!!
Civita di Bagnoregio is a hilltop village in central Italy that is famous because of its striking position on top of a mountain overlooking the Tiber river valley. It’s in constant danger of destruction as the edges collapse due to erosion, leaving the buildings to crumble into the valley. The village was once connected to the nearby town of Bagnoregio, but the ground has worn away over time so that now it can only be accessed via a pedestrian bridge. The few remaining locals and business owners use mopeds to bring supplies to town.
We drove over to Bagnoregio and walked (hiked, really. It was so steep that we stopped a few times “for Kingston to rest”) the bridge up to the tiny village and explored every hidden alley and winding path. Our friend Seth was an amazing tour guide, and we all agreed that it was one of the most incredible places we’ve ever seen!
When you get up to the village and walk through the main archway that was cut by the Etruscans (Yes! It’s THAT old!) you instantly feel like you’ve entered another world. Civita has all the classic charm of an Italian hilltop village – potted flowers hanging from sun soaked buildings, hidden alleys and side streets, and of course, a beautiful church as the centerpiece of town.
But it’s also entirely unique. We were standing in front of a beautiful palace as I took pictures of it’s ornate wooden door when we realized that there was nothing behind the facade. The doors and windows lead to nothing, because the rest of the house fell into the valley below years ago!
With a population of only 11 full-time residents left in the village we were surprised to find several restaurants and bed and breakfasts for visitors to enjoy. Thanks in part to Rick Steves’ coverage of the village, Civita has become a weekend getaway for Italians as well as a must see spot for visitors from all over the world.
We learned that in the main piazza several festivals are held each year, including donkey races in June and September, and a living nativity at Christmas. Wouldn’t it be fun to catch one of those?! If you’re planning to visit central Italy, I can’t recommend a visit to Civita di Bagnoregio enough. Make sure you wear your walking shoes though. That hike to the top is no joke!