Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 14, 2016

Civita di Bagnoregio

Bagnoregio Civita’s isolation has been its downfall and its saviour. The former Etruscan town sits on a slowly eroding tufa plug in the Tiber valley. The town began to disintegrate around the 16th century for a couple of reasons. The clay base below the tufa subsided and the constant removal of stone from the sides of the cliff to build houses weakened the edges.

An earthquake in 1695 accelerated the move of the residents to nearby Bagnoregio. The migration continued and today there are only a handful of permanent residents. A few home owners come and go, and in the summer the town is busy with tourists, fascinated by a town frozen in time.

Clouds were skidding across the sky on the afternoon we visited, creating moving shadows across the striking town.

Bagnoregio Civita

Bagnoregio Civita

Bagnoregio Civita

The only way into the town is via the footbridge, which replaced the original crumbling mule track. The addition of the footbridge is thanks to Bonaventura Tecchi, an Italian writer who was born in Bagnoregio Civita. He drew attention to the dying town and the resulting footbridge was its saviour. It is a steep walk up to the town.

Bagnoregio Civita

Bagnoregio Civita

Bagnoregio Civita

It may be better not to look back if you are afraid of heights.

Bagnoregio Civita

The entrance is through the stone doorway originally cut by Etruscans 2500 years ago and redecorated in the 12th century. The Porta Santa Maria is decorated by stone lions holding a human head, symbols often appearing on medieval churches.

Bagnoregio Civita

The town is beautifully preserved and well cared for. The gardens are full of flowers and the houses appear to be well loved. There are a few shops, restaurants and cafes, most of which were closed in the late afternoon when we visited.

Come for a little walk around this enchanting town.

Bagnoregio Civita

Bagnoregio Civita

Bagnoregio Civita

Bagnoregio Civita

Peering over the edge reveals an interesting landscape.

Bagnoregio Civita

We stayed in a B&B in the newer part of town. It is owned by one of Civita’s true characters, Franco, who also has a restaurant and B&B, Antico Forno, in the old town. He very kindly cooked dinner for us and told us many interesting tales of the town.

Bagnoregio Civita

He has featured in many newspaper and magazine articles and has Rick Steves as a fan. He proudly told us the Catriona Rowntree from Australia’s Getaway ( a TV travel show) had been to chat to him. I think every town could use a spokesperson like Franco to extol its virtues.

It was dark as we made our way out of Bagnoregio Civita for the long walk back.

Bagnoregio Civita

Bagnoregio Civita

Bagnoregio Civita is not to be missed. It is in the province of Viterbo, about 120 kilometres from Rome. There is a car park near the entrance to the footbridge and there is a fee of €1.50 to enter the town.



  1. Debra, what an amazing place!! How many people actually live up there? I’m guessing that have to get their food from outside the town? How intriguing it all is…thank you for sharing it with us! xx

    • About 8 people are permanent residents, but it looks very well cared for. Some people who own houses there, visit regularly. Supplies are brought in by motor scooter and probably small hand controlled tractor devices that we see in many towns with tiny streets.

  2. What a fascinating place – I’m sure it’s full of fascinating stories too. I imagine it was well placed to repel marauding ne’er do wells.

    • Ne’er do wells would have needed a good mule.

  3. Ah! Bagnoregio! We made a trip to this enchanting town. Some of the little coutyard gardens were ‘open’ for viewing. One that I will never forget was just gorgeous, about the size of a postage stamp, with a well tended array of herbs, flowers and pots……extremely beautiful! The sweetest piu vecchio donna, as old as the town itself,cloaked in all black,with a huge smile, stood at the entry, stooped, with palm facing out and up. Obviously she did not speak English, but we understood there was en entry fee, we donated the coins, but the hand shook for more and was not withdrawn until the prescribed amount was forthcoming. …such a funny situation, the circumstances of which we always have a good laugh and made the town unforgettable twice over! Thanks for sharing you photos,Debra!

    • It is always the contacts with people who make these places memorable.

  4. Debra this is one of the most awesome post . Appreciate you sharing . End May 2016 will be in Bagni di Lucca . Hope we can to help base .

    • Bagnoregio is a fabulous spot. Let me know when you arrive in BdL and we can perhaps meet for coffee.

    • Hope you get to see some of the ‘open gardens’ 🙂

  5. Thanks it Wendy from South Africa

  6. I have wanted to visit this place since I first read about it. I find the story of Italy’s ghost towns quite fascinating. Last year in Sardinia I visited the abandoned mining village of Argentiera. Spooky!

  7. I visited some years ago, expecting to see a ruined ghost town, but not a bit of it! It’s all rather neat and tidy, but charming nonetheless….your post has brought back great memories

    • We have been before, a few years ago, but I hadn’t remembered how pretty it was.

  8. Somewhere to put on my list of places I must visit. Lovely blog. Orna

    • Thank you. You will enjoy Bagnoregio.

  9. Oh my Goodness! I’m so so so jealous. I want to go here badly. I’ve seen this on The Amazing Race, and been wishing to be there.

    • It is a fascinating place to visit.

  10. I’ve always wanted to visit this enchanting town. Thank you for taking us there.

    • You must go on your next trip.

  11. Great photos, thank you. I would love to go there! we are flying to Naples tomorrow and we are staying in Portofino. There are so many wonderful places to visit in Italy, we do try to go once a year to a different place.

    • Do you mean Positano? Portofino is up our way.

      • Yes I’m an idiot! We are here now. And it is wonderful.

  12. Absolutely amazing and the pictures are fantastic! Thank you for sharing. I must go!

    • Bagnoregio is a great place to visit.

  13. Such an amazing place and what a hike to get up there. 🙂 Gorgeous photos, Debra.

    • It is a bit of a hike, but well worth it.

  14. An amazing place! Great photography Debra!

    • Thank you. It was our second visit to Bagnoregio.

  15. You have great sources leading you to wonderful gems. Many thanks.

    • We try to find interesting places to visit.

  16. What a treasure of a lovely town you have discovered, and you captured it beautifully. Thank you for sharing Debra.

    • I hope you visit one day soon.

  17. Looks like my kind of village. Very unique and so lovely!

    • We really liked that it is so well cared for.

  18. Wow, most enchanting town! Thank you for sharing this, Debra.😊

    • It is a beautiful place to visit.

  19. Hi Debra, thanks for such a fascinating and historic tour through Civita di Bagnoregio. It looks like an amazing place to visit. Great photos. Thanks again.

    • It is lovely. There are a few places to stay in the centre, but then you would have to carry your bags across.

  20. That town is truly remarkable. With all of the places you’re showing us, I’d need at least a year in Italy-or more!

    • I have been coming to Italy for 14 years…it is not enough.

  21. What a beautiful town and interesting. Did you walk all the road? I wanted to visit this town… Amazing. Thank you dear Debra, have a nice day, Love, nia

    • We walked through all of the streets. It is an interesting place.

    • 🙂

  22. How beautiful! I think I’d require medication for the bridge, but the views and town look to make that worthwhile.

    • You could just shut your eyes and be led across.

  23. I love this town, it made a wonderful day trip from Orvieto and we had the simplest, tastiest lunch there. Great memories, thank you 🙂

    • It is a gorgeous town. I hope it survives a while longer.

  24. I LOVED this post. And, of course, your photos are so swoon worthy! The ‘walk in’ just adds to the charm, changing it up from other small villages. A little surreal I would imagine, kept back if you will, to yesteryear, adding further to it’s uniqueness. Simply – Thank You – it was a delight!!

    • It really is amazing how different these little villages are from each other. This one is special.

  25. […] revisited Bagnoregio, sitting in a precarious position on a disappearing tufa plug. I wonder how much longer it will […]

  26. […] via Civita di Bagnoregio — Bagni di Lucca and Beyond […]

  27. Incredible little village(?). Very well described. Fine pictures. Thank you

    • It is a wonderful place.

    • It is a wonderful place.

  28. […] […]

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