Civita di Bagnoregio (pronounced Banyoregio) is a small Italian hill town in the province of Viterbo, region of Lazio, in central Italy.
Civita di Bagnoregio is actually two remote towns. Civita is on a hill accessible only by a long stone walkway that begins at the end of the road from neighboring Bagnoregio. Once, Civita was the larger community and Bagnoregio the satellite. Today, Civita has only about 14 year-round residents, so few that Civita is nicknamed "the Dead City." Many of the buildings in Civita are being purchased by rich Italians who come here for vacation. However the town suffers constant erosion of its volcanic rock into the valley below.
Civita is a charming medieval city, almost utterly untouched by the Renaissance. (The facade of the church was remodeled during the Renaissance, but the city is otherwise entirely medieval.) Despite its nickname, during the tourist season, Civita bustles with day trippers.
The long bridge into Civita is steep -- and it gets steeper as it rises. This is a challenging climb for anyone not in particularly good shape.
By Bus To get to Civita, you will need first to get to Bagnoregio. There is a bus from Orvieto; the trip takes about an hour and costs €3.20 round trip. Blue cortal buses leave Orvieto's Piazza Cahen, then stop at the train station, daily except Sunday at 6:15 and at 12:45, 3:45, and 6:20 p.m. During the school year from September to June, there are additional departures at 7:20 and 7:50 a.m. and at 1:55 p.m. Buy tickets at the train station bar.
By Car The simplest way to get to Bagnoregio from Orvieto is to get on the autostrada and follow the signs to Lubriano and Bagnoregio. A more scenic route takes 20 minutes longer. From the freeway, pass under hill-capping Orvieto, with signs to Lago di Bolsena and Viale I Maggio on your right, and take the first left to Bagnoregio, winding through Canale and great Orvieto views.
Once you get into Bagnoregio, you can park either at the bus lot at the edge of town or at the base of the stone walkway. (Follow the yellow signs to Civita to reach the parking lot.) There is a parking charge of €1 an hour, which you can pay at the shop or the restaurant. Parking may be free on weekdays or off season when there's no attendant.
Alternately, you can walk from Bagnoregio to the Civita bridge (it takes about 20 minutes) or take a €1 yellow minibus (pay the driver) from the gas station to the base of the walkway. You can ascend to Civita only on foot, but taking the bus from Bagnoregio will cut your walking distance in half. One or two buses leave each hour, starting at 7:38 a.m. Monday to Saturday and 8:53 a.m. Sunday. The last bus leaves at 6:24 p.m.
Romanesque Arch At the entrance to Civita, this arch was cut by the Etruscans 2,500 years ago.
Renaissance Palace remains All that remains of an old palace is the facade, the rest collapsed into the canyon from erosion of the hill Civita sits on.
Piazza The town's only public phone is at the piazza, the site of donkey races on the first Sunday in June and the second Sunday of September. The columns are Etruscan. In the evening, the piazza is the place to be, as what's left of the town socializes there.
Church On the piazza, this church is on the site of an Etruscan temple, and after that a Roman temple. It has a fine campanile (bell tower), altar, and crucifix.
Maria's Garden Follow the main road to the far side of town to see a lovely garden with knockout canyon views. If the garden is open, Maria will greet you in a small piazza and urge you to see it. She shows the garden to visitors for pocket change; give her a euro or two.
Etruscan Caves A series of caves at the east end of town, one of which was made into a chapel, called the Chapel of the Incarcerated.
A Despar Supermarket is 300 yards from the bus stop. To get there, go back down the main street you came on in your bus from Orvieto, turn left at the Bar/Enoteca Cinema Alberto Sordi, bear right at the fork and then turn right again at the pyramid monument. The supermarket is closed Sunday and open Monday through Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m.
Il Fumatore di Pizzo Ornelio Open Friday through Wednesday 12:30 to 3 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m., closed Thursday, on Piazza Marconi. Telephone: 0761-792-642
Trattorio Antico Forno serves cheap pasta. Open daily 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. and sporadically for dinner 7:30 to 10 p.m. Also rents rooms; see Civita B&B under Sleep. Telephone: 0761-760-016
Osteria Boccadoro Covered patio off main square. Open daily 12:30 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 11 p.m. Telephone: 0761-780-775
Pina's Pizzeria Pizza and sweets to eat there or to go. Open daily noon to 10 p.m., near town entry.
Hostaria del Ponte Great view from rooftop terrace at bottom of stone walkway into town. €6.50 pastas, reservations smart. Open Tuesday through Sunday 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Closed Monday; November through April closed Sunday. Telephone 0761-793-565
Romantica Pucci B&B Pucci and Lamberto have five romantically decorated rooms. The rate includes breakfast and parking. There is an attached restaurant on Piazza Cavour. Double €80.
Hotel Fidanza 25 rooms, Nos. 206 and 207 have Civita views. Call to let them know your arrival time to make sure there is someone at the reception desk. Single with bathroom €50, double with bathroom €74. Cash only; rate includes breakfast. There is an attached restaurant. Telephone and fax: 0761-793-444
The bus service between Bagnoregio to Orvieto costs €3.20 for the one-hour roundtrip. From Bagnoregio, there are six departures daily except Sunday at 5:30, 9:55, and 10:10 a.m. and at 1, 2:25, and 5:25 p.m. During the school year from September to June there are also departures at 6:35 and 6:50 a.m. and at 1:35 and 4:40 p.m.
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Roundtheworld, Oliver Buchino and Todd VerBeek, Morph
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