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Civita di Bagnoregio – Lazio’s ghost town

  • Civita di Bagnoregio – Lazio’s ghost town

    From Orvieto to Bagnoregio is only 30 minutes by car or bus but feels like a lost fantasy world. The route south borders Lake Bolsena and reveals scenery straight out of Tolkein’s Middle Earth. Civita di Bagnoregio is a semi-abandoned village often described as a ghost town. If so, it’s a ghost town coming back from the dead as it’s rightly popular with romantic visitors. Perched above a canyon and teetering atop a pinnacle is a fairy-tale medieval town that risks slipping into a ravine. This small village is perched precariously upon eroding rock and reached only by a causeway bridge.

    For defensive purposes, this ancient Etruscan settlement was built on a ridge of a hill surrounded by ravines. It rose to prominence in medieval times and is still a vision of ancient carved stone archways and secret passageways. In time, landslides led to the collapse of sections of the cliff-like rock above, particularly after the 1695 earthquake, when the eastern section tumbled away. Now reached via a long pedestrian bridge over the ravine, the town revels in its dramatic setting. Visitors enter through a lofty stone passageway, cut by the Etruscans 2,500 years ago and later adorned with a Romanesque arch. Passing through the portal feels like an accomplishment, as does the return of some life to the village. Most of the houses have been restored in recent years and an advanced monitoring system regularly checks the stability of the hill.

    Civita is now enjoying a second wind. The difficulty of access which once caused its almost total abandonment today attracts visitors in search of silence. Apart from lapping up the views and the sense of desolation, visitors can tuck into some home cooking in the local inns. From bruschetta slathered in olive oil to truffled pasta, the food can only taste good in such a compelling setting.

    There's a bus on Sundays.

    Web: www.orvietoviva.com

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