Stanito continues her pursuit of hidden gems of Italy that will take you to strange places…
Did you know that in Italy you still find towns where only a dozen people live? And did you know that there is a town that is slowly breaking town? This town, did you know it looks like a floating city in the sky for most of autumn-winter days?
Civita di Bagnoregio, dear Reader, it’s the town I’m talking about… and I’m going to take you with me as I continue telling you the story 🙂
In Etruscan times, it was a sizeable city above fertile valleys and winding streams in what is now the Lazio region.
But those streams ate at the plateau and eroded its clay and sand base.
In every earthquake, exposed tufa stone and parts of the city tumbled into the valleys
You can see the evidence today, in narrow streets that end abruptly at the edge of the cliff and in walls still standing.
The population today varies from about 12 people in winter to over 100 in the summer.
Life is simple in Civita di Bagnoregio and the locals, not used to tourists, continue spending their days doing what they did decades ago; going to the local butcher, buying fresh bread and sitting outside talking to their friends and neighbours.
The village is riddled with tunnels and caves; some may have been Etruscan tombs. Some are used as wine cellars and cisterns
The reason Civita is so unusual is that it is disappearing.
They call it “the dying city” because, gradually, over many centuries, erosion and earthquakes have tugged away at the tufa rock until only this small part remains.
Everywhere you turn, the views across the collapsed hillsides and wide barren landscape,as far as the Umbrian mountains, are breathtaking.