The Civita di Bagnoregio is one of those places that is so picture-perfect, it’s hard to believe it’s real. Perched upon a hill within the Tiber River valley in northern Lazio, the town seems to exist in another realm, frozen in time. And yet it’s just another beautiful example of how history persists in every corner of Italy.
Originally settled by the Etruscans 2,500 years ago, the town was largely abandoned in the 16th century due to corrosion. This is why the Civita di Bagnoregio is famously referred to as La città che muore – “The Dying Town” – because its friable, volcanic base continues to slow crumble away into the valley. Only a handful of residents live here year-round but tourism has helped bring the town back to life and Civita di Bagnoregio has come to be exceedingly popular in recent years.
See More: More Sites To Visit Near Bagnoregio
Where To Eat
With its delightful stone buildings, outdoor staircases, tiny alleys and scenic views, Civita di Bagnoreggio is a lovely place to spend a warm spring day dining at one of the many quaint trattorias in town. Alma Civita is one of the most popular places in town and serves contemporary dishes in a rustic atmosphere, even serving some diners at tables tucked into an illuminated Etruscan cave below the restaurant – Alma Civita can also operates a small hotel with two bedrooms and a larger apartment next door. For something a little more rustic, Antica Rota serves traditional cuisine in a cozy setting and L’Arco del Gusto makes delicious sandwiches and various flavors of ricotta gelato.
Don’t miss stepping inside the lovely Chiesa di San Donato in the heart of town that dates back to the 5th century. With its wooden beam roofs and plaster walls, its more rustic than many churches in Italy and houses a few treasures, including a fresco by Perugino and a wooden crucifix by Donatello.
How To Arrive
The easiest way to reach Bagnoregio is by car, otherwise you can arrive by Cotral bus via Orvieto between Monday to Saturday (€2 each way). To access Civita itself, you need to cross a scenic footbridge that takes you across the valley and up into the town: a new admission ticket has been introduced to help fund maintenance in the town and costs €3 on weekdays and €5 on weekends.
Where To Stay
As its tagline suggests, the Corte della Maestà is a timeless retreat nestled within Bagnoregio – and its loveliest boutique hotel. Set within the historic bishop’s palazzo in town, the B&B features four suites filled with books, art and romantic touches. The property also has numerous gardens and courtyards for enjoying breakfast al fresco, and a cozy wine cellar-turned-living room where you can enjoy a book or film beneath the tufa rock ceiling, warmed by the flame of a roaring fire.