Elegant self-catering
Apartment in the
Heart of Civita di
Bagnoregio Italy

+39 34 83 65 65 51

Civita di Bagnoregio

Civita is uniquely captivating and included in the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Seeing this extraordinary village for the first time is awe inspiring. It literally takes your breath away. The ancient citadel seems suspended in the sky, an island that has miraculously survived the harsh environmental challenges whilst the surrounds have crumbled and eroded due to the fragile ecosystem. The only link to the outside world is a pedestrian bridge that is suspended over the spectacular Calanchi Valley, steeply winding its way for 300m to the Porta Santa Maria, entrance to this enchanted village. As you enter, you immediately begin to sense the awe and wonder of the 2500 year old living museum encompassed within.

Believed to have been founded around 500 BC, it was originally an Etruscan settlement, later succumbing to Roman rule, and then conquered by the Longobardi (Lombards). The “FLAMINIVS CIANI” inscribed lintel above the window of the apartment is from this period, and the apartment is named for this.

In 1221, San Bonaventura, born Gianni di Fidanza was born in Civita. In his writings, he reports that in his youth he was saved from an untimely death by the prayers of St. Francis of Assisi who was visiting the area. Laying his hands on Gianni’s head, St. Francis blessed him and said “O buona ventura”, which means “what good fortune he will have”, and the name stayed with him.

The town thrived for centuries until an earthquake in 1695 caused significant damage and inhabitants began to leave. The following decades and centuries saw continuing seismic activity with landslides and erosion, and Civita became almost abandoned. It was given the name la citta che muore (the dying city).

Today, Civita is a wonderful example of a medieval town left relatively untouched by modern times with +/- 9 permanent residents, some, who’s heritage in Civita goes back 7 generations. Other houses and gardens are owned and occupied as weekend or summer residences by a mixture of Italian and international people.

In recent years, significant effort has been made to preserve this historic location, including being proposed for World Heritage Status by the Italian UNESCO Commission. If successful, the cultural landscape of Civita di Bagnoregio could enter the prestigious UNESCO list in 2022. Even so, Civita di Bagnoregio remains on the list of the 100 most endangered sites

A few points of interest amongst the many

Porta Santa Maria Originally there were at least four gates to Civita, but today this is the only one which remains. The crosses engraved in the walls as you enter the gate were carved by the Knights Templar returning from crusades in the Holy Land.

At the end of the Porta Santa Maria tunnel, the village opens up to the Piazza San Pietro (Colosanti) which is named after Civita’s oldest noble family. The Palazzo Colosanti was built in the 1500’s, but today, all you will see is the openings to the sky where the windows for the Palazzo once were. The piazza was once a bustling marketplace.

Continuing on the Via Santa Maria Porta for a few metres will bring you to the hub of the village. Piazza San Donato is the main square. This has been the hub and meeting place in Civita for over 2500 years, and it is bordered on one end by the Chiesa San Donato, site of the original pagan temple constructed around 600BC. The remains of columns in front of the church are from a Roman Temple with the granite probably brought from Egypt. The present day Christian church constructed over the ancient temple is thought to have been built by the Longobardi from the north around 600BC. At one time the church was a cathedral, but following the devastating 1695 earthquake, the bishop moved to Bagnoregio, and it became a church.

From the Piazza, a network of stone streets spread in all directions. Follow them and explore the limitless treasures this mystical borgo has to reveal. Savour the quiet evenings and absorb the huge starry skies. It is easy to find your soul in Civita!

Places to eat

Civita has a number or restaurants and bars to choose from. During peak summer months most will be open during the day, especially weekends, and many at night too. We recommend booking if possible. At other times of the year, not all restaurants are open all the time, especially during week nights, so it is best to check with them. Alternatively, there are a number of restaurants in neighbouring Bagnoregio, Lubriano, Bolsena, Montefiascone and Orvieto. Again, we recommend booking.

Here are some of our favourites in Civita:

Alma Civita – An absolutely unique setting. Top class food and presentation and exceptional wines. Ask to be seated in the hand carved Etruscan cave. Dining here is an unforgettable experience.
Tel: +39 0761 79 24 15

Al Forno di Agnese – In summer, enjoy a meal from an authentic local menu selection under a canopy of colourful wisteria vines. In winter, eat hearty local food in the warmth of the indoors area.
Tel: +39 0761 79 25 71

La Cantina di Arianna – Traditional local food cooked on an open fire provides an amazing atmosphere
Tel: +39 0761 79 32 70 or +39 339 58 86 665

Taverna Bistrot – Authentic local cuisine and famous for their Carbonara
Tel: +39 32 80 10 50 61

Il Pozzo dei Desideri – Civita provides limitless opportunities for unusual dining locations. Here you can dine in what used to be a well, The menu is local and the food fresh.
Tel: +39 351 62 32 064