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Civita di Bagnoregio - A Mysterious Town, Italy

Civita di Bagnoregio is one of the most amazing towns we have ever visited. Its location is so incredible that you have to be there to believe (or watch our video on YouTube). You can reach it only by means of a narrow footbridge - people who have fear of heights should think twice about whether they really want to take a walk (ok, we are joking a little, it is not so narrow, it's enough for a miniature van).

The access and parking in Civita di Bagnoregio

The town lies right next to the newer town of Bagnoregio and is located 20 km from Orvieto and 15 km from Bolsena.

There are two ways to park your car. First, you can park it in the town of Bagnoregio (P1; GPS: 42.627315, 12.093609), and then walk to Civita di Bagnoregio (distance about 1200 m from the parking lot to the entrance of the footbridge).

Secondly, you can take a chance and try to drive to the parking lot Parcheggio Civita di Bagnoregio (P2; GPS: 42.625598, 12.104431) located already very close to the footbridge, or even better, right down to the footbridge - we noticed that some people leave cars there, too (P3; GPS: 42.626490, 12.110299), but we cannot guarantee that it will be possible to get there - it looked like a little illegal parking lot or something like that (beware of prohibitory traffic signs!). In addition, in the summer season everything will probably be already occupied (unless you arrive at 7 am). We chose the first option, i.e. we left the car in Bagnoregio and walked to Civita di Bagnoregio on foot.

A few words about the history of the town

From what we learned, the town was founded by the Etruscans, so it is very old. However, already in those days there was a problem related to soil stability - earthquakes, constant erosion and weathered rocks caused the buildings to crack and the land slumped, and in general it was not very safe to live there. The Romans tried to do something about it, but rather to no avail. In the Middle Ages, a number of interesting buildings were erected, but subsequent earthquakes and an epidemic contributed to the fact that the inhabitants finally gave up on this place and founded the "new Bagnoregio" a few kilometers away from the old one. The town actually began to die, but in the second half of the twentieth century came back to life because of tourists and actually now it survives thanks to them. We have already encountered a similar story in southern France in the case of the town called Les Baux-de-Provence.

Access to the footbridge

Because, as we mentioned, we parked in Bagnoregio, we had to first walk down the town streets to reach the final destination. The walk is simple, the road is not bothersome. Only at the end we had to go down the stairs. Because Bagnoregio and Civita di Bagnoregio lie on separate hills, you have to go down first to climb again (on the bridge). On the way we passed a great vantage point, the so-called Belvedere (A; GPS: 42.625876, 12.105876), from which we were able for the first time to admire the panorama of the town and the bridge leading to it. If you leave the car in the P2 parking lot, just go right and in a moment you will go through the gate and you will find yourself in something like a miniature park with a bar, where you can buy for example something to drink or eat. The vantage point is just behind the gate. From this place we go down the stairs to the street Via Bonaventura Tecchi and after about 300 meters we are at the very entrance to the bridge.

Footbridge leading to Civita di Bagnoregio

Finally we reach the place (B; GPS: 42.626168, 12.109575), where the famous footbridge leading to Civita di Bagnoregio (called Ponte per Civita) begins. It is about 366 meters long (we confirmed this later with satellite imagery!) and is suspended high above the gorge separating the two hills - our target is on the top of one of them. This bridge was built in the mid-1960s and replaced the old wooden structure from 1944. The views from the bridge are amazing, however, as we have already written, someone who has a serious fear of heights should be supported by another person while passing through it.

It should be remembered that entering the bridge (and, practically speaking, entrance to the town of Civita di Bagnoregio) is payable and in 2019 the price was 5€ per person. However, this is really worth paying, because the aesthetic experiences will definitely outweigh the costs.

Visiting Civita di Bagnoregio

The footbridge rises slowly first and then runs steeper. After the mentioned 366 meters, we are already at the entrance to the town, i.e. the gate of Porta Santa Maria (C; GPS: 42.6273967, 12.1126969), which is characterized by several interesting carvings, one of which depicts a pair of lions holding a human head in their mouths. After passing through the gate and passing the small square of Piazza Colesanti on the right, we appear on the main square of the town (D; GPS: 42.6273967, 12.1126969) - Piazza San Donato, where the church of San Donato is located. Before it, the Etruscan and Roman temples were located there. Its interior is very interesting, there are, among others, frescoes and a crucifix from the 15th century.

At the square there are restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, as well as a geological museum. From the square, we first go left to reach the nearby smaller square, Piazza Vescovato (E; GPS: 42.6280478, 12.1139094), then we follow the Via Madonna della Maestà street, passing the church on the left. We see interesting, flowered buildings, then we visit small, side alleys to admire the panorama of the area. We note that, however, some people live here permanently - this certainly applies to one house with a nice, well-kept garden (F; GPS: 42.628017, 12.114746). We reach the end of the street and return to the main square, where we rest and drink a small, strong espresso. Then we come back embracing the panorama while exiting the Porta Santa Maria gate.

The return through Bagnoregio

If you park the car in Bagnoregio, a return walk its main street is also pleasant, because along the way you can admire monuments such as the church of Chiesa dell'Annunziata from the 14th century (G; GPS: 42.6260706, 12.0990875), or the beautiful Cattedrale dei Santi Nicola, Donato e Bonaventura from the 17th century (H; GPS: 42.6266369, 12.0943964), built at Piazza Cavour and overlooked by tourists, and yet most worth seeing.

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