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Civita di Bagnoregio by Tourist by Chance
Civita di Bagnoregio is a comune in the province of Viterbo in Lazio, located about 90 kilometres (56 mi) northwest of Rome and about 28 kilometres (17 mi) north of Viterbo.
Civita di Bagnoregio is actually two remote towns! Civita is perched on a hill, accessible only by a bridge that starts at the end of the road from Bagnoregio, hence the Civita di (of) Bagnoregio.
(getting to Civita, driving through Bagnoregio)
Bagnoregio has been the backdrop to some famous films, such as ‘La Strada‘ by Fellini (1954), starring Anthony Quinn along with ‘The two colonels‘ (1962) with Totò and Alberto Sordi in the film ‘Contestazione Generale‘ (1970) by Luigi Zampa.
In reality, before I embarked on this journey I knew very little of Bagnoregio, in fact I was just so curious about some of things I had seen online, I just had to go see it for myself.
You can imagine how happy I was when I got stopped by Giovanni ‘l’uomo sulla bicicletta’ (the man on the bike), as he is known by the locals, while I was taking photos he gave me some local knowledge on Bagnoregio. Giovanni explained that in Piazza Cavour (below) and the Monastery are where some of the main scenes of La Strada were filmed. A classic of Italian cinema.
Giovanni is actually very well known (as ‘the man on the bike’) and hopefully you are lucky to meet him on your visit. A real character! Giovanni also recommended the restaurant where I would eventually have lunch but more on that later on.
a scene from ‘La Strada’ in Piazza Cavour. Picture taken from Canino.info
Left: Giovanni ‘l’uomo sulla bicicletta’ and Convento S. Francesco used in La Strada.
What to do?
1. Visit to Civita di Bagnoregio or also known as the ‘dying city’. Connected to the rest of the world only by a narrow footbridge, it stands in the lunar landscape of the badlands and it really is an amazing sight.
Today, Civita has only about 6 year-round residents (we have heard different takes on this) and is nicknamed “the Dying City” also due to the constant erosion of its volcanic rock . You will find a good read at ‘The Curious Cafe‘.
Porta S. Maria
The city is entirely medieval and was basically untouched by the Renaissance. The facade of church is the only part of this incredible town that was remodelled during the Renaissance.
There is a 1.50EUR fee to walk to Civita. This is a challenging climb for anyone not in particularly good shape (see our video). Our recommendation: visit between November – March to enjoy the serenity of this place.
2. The Piazza of Bagnoregio – where you will find the only public phone of the town, the donkey races – yes you read correctly. See what Rick Steves has to say. Enjoy the Etruscan columns and in the evening, take in the gathering of the locals for dinner, aperitivo or for a gelato (or two or 10 ;)).
3. San Donato Church in Civita – History shows that Bagnoregio was a diocese as early as the 7th century! Its cathedral is dedicated to St. Donato of Arezzo, a martyr of the 4th century. The church was built in the 13th century and in the 15th century the building underwent small renovations, including the redesign of the façade.
St. Donato Church
1. Ideal for a day trip if planning from Rome to surrounding regions/cities. Approximately 30min drive to Orvieto, 30min drive to Viterbo, 1.5hr drive from Rome, 1.5hr drive to Siena and 1hr to Todi.
2. It is a unique part of the world and like many parts of Italy, a great place to take that amazing photo to wow your friends and make it your next ‘cover’ photo 😉
3. The food. Yet again, here you get to enjoy the amazing cuisine of regional Lazio. Since it borders with other regions, you will find a pleasant mix of pastas, meats and wine! You can really enjoy excellent pork products, processed entirely using time-honored traditional methods, both fresh and cured meats.
4. Well for all of the above? Still not sure? Do not take our word for it. I Borghi più belli d’Italia highlights all you need to know of one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
5. Thanks to #instagram, I connected with Justyna from The World by the Brunette and she pointed out that Civita di Bagnoregio has an incredible amount of cats! So if you love cats and taking some pretty cool photography – then this village is for you 😉 A shout out to Justyna for being a part of our blog and make sure to check our her instagram for more great photos – Justyna Sitko
Where to Eat?
I ate at Al Forno di Agnese (link to restaurants page) and enjoyed a pasta – Pincinelle al Pistacchio (pincinelle pasta with a pistacchio pesto). Here our two photos below:
Have you been to Civita di Bagnoregio? What were your thoughts and experiences during your visit? Please make sure to tell me your story and what you discovered on your trip by leaving a comment below– I love to hear the perspective of other travellers visit our beautiful country.
Updated: February, 2016
How to get there?
By Car from Rome (Google Map):
I recommend you use your smart phone (simply click Google Map above) as a GPS. Or if you are driving around Italy, make sure to have a reliable GPS/Sat Nav with updated maps for Italy. You will need this as some of the signs are no longer visible and you can risk getting lost.
Starting from the Center of Rome, head north on the A1 motorway towards Orvieto. From the A1 you will need to take the exit for Florence, continue for approx 40km and you will need to take the exit for Orte. Follow the indications to get to Viterbo at which stage look out for the Bagnaia-Montefiascone exit. Follow the signs (NB: some signs are no longer visible) to “Civita di Bagnoregio”.
Please note that parking at Bagnoregio costs 1.00EUR, however, as you get closer to Civita the price gets up to 2.00EUR per hour. In high tourist season (April – October) parking will be difficult to find close to Civita and the walk from Bagnoregio to Civita is about 20-25 minutes (2km/1.2mi). Bring coins with you for parking or if you forget you will need to go to the bar at Pizza Alberto Picci and buy something!
Not sure how to ask for coins – use the worlds trust friend – Google Translate.
By Train from Rome:
From Rome (or any parts of Italy) you can take the train to either Viterbo or Orvieto (use Trenitalia.it) . From these towns you then take the COTRAL Bus (link to site). We only recommend that you get to Orvieto (link to our post) and take the bus from the main Piazza Cahen (see times below), since they are much more organized.
|Orvieto → Bagnoregio|
|ORVIETO piazza Cahen||6:20||7:25*||7:50*||9:10||12:45||13:55||15:45||17:40||18:20|
|ORVIETO train station||6:30||7:35*||8:00*||9:20||12:55||14:05||15:55||17:50||18:30|
|Bagnoregio → Orvieto|
|ORVIETO train station||6:05||7:05*||7:40||10:35||11:05||13:35||14:00*||15:10||17:10*||18:05|
|ORVIETO piazza Cahen||6:15||7:15*||7:50||10:45||11:15||13:45||–||15:20||17:20*||18:20|
|Note||* No service on Sundays. Trains run on Saturdays
* *buses that run only during the school period from June to September.
* About latest timetable, please check the Cotral Bus Company’s ‘Trip Planner‘
* About the ticket fare, please visit a tobacco shop.
From Bagnoregio (Google Map), you can walk (approximately 2kms) or take the urban bus that drops travellers off at the bridge of Civita:
See the video above for times of the urban bus. Tickets Purchased onboard. Departs from: Piazza S. Agostino to Loc. Mercatello (access to the bridge of Civita) Return from: Loc. Mercatello to Piazzale Battaglini.