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Bagnoregio

Civita, also known as the Dying City, was the birthplace of St. Bonaventure, an important theologian and the first biographer of St. Francis of Assisi. Founded by the Etruscans more than two millennia ago, it was the Romans who changed its name to Balneum Regis, from which it probably derived the name it had until 1922, namely Bagnarea.
At the end of the long period of Gothic domination, in 1150 it succeeded in establishing itself as a free commune, under the supervision of the Papal State, causing the Monaldeschi family, counts of Bagnoregio, to move to Celleno and guaranteeing itself at least two centuries of relative independence. Later, during the struggle between the papacy and the empire, Bagnoregio too had to take sides, choosing the Guelph Orvieto over the Ghibelline Viterbo.
In 1303 another Monaldeschi, Ugolino this time, returned to command Bagnoregio in the role of podestà. For almost two centuries, the family managed to hold on to power despite alternating fortunes (plagues, wars and famine, even an invasion of locusts) until the population of Civita, having reached the point of exasperation, rebelled in 1458, destroying the Cervara castle, their stronghold.
From then on, despite an initial period of chaos, the town was governed by cardinal-governors who guaranteed a period of peace and stability.

In 1695 it was Nature and not Man who wrote a fundamental page in Bagnoregio’s history: a devastating earthquake separated Civita from the other two districts that formed the town, Mercato (today Mercatello) and Rota (the nucleus of modern Bagnoregio).
From this moment and for another hundred and fifty years, the events of Bagnoregio merged with those of the Papal State.
For an autonomous page in the great book of history, the village would have to wait for the Risorgimento. On 5 October 1867, coinciding with the battle of Mentana, papal soldiers and Garibaldians also faced each other near Poggio Scio, with the same tragic result: the papal troops forced the red shirts to abandon Viterbo and the whole of Tuscia.
From this moment on, the history of the village is identified with that of the entire region, from the pain of the First World War through the fascist experience to the tragedy of the German occupation.
For years now, Bagnoregio has been on the list of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy and in 2021, Civita di Bagnoregio was included by Italy in the proposed list to become a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Places to visit

Taruffi museum

Taruffi museum

An interesting museum named after the driver, inventor and engineer Pietro Taruffi, a famous designer of vintage cars. Through the exhibition of much material related to his work for the most famous car manufacturers, it will be possible to follow the motoring...

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La Valle dei Calanchi

La Valle dei Calanchi

The gullies, which give the valley its name, are ridges of white clay, carved deep into the ground by the area's abundant rainfall activity. An austere and moving panorama in its essentiality, which allows even the untrained eye to grasp the changes the terrain has...

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Porta Albana

Porta Albana

The Governor of Bagnoregio, Cardinal Giovanni Girolamo Albani, ordered the construction of the solemn arch, based on a design by the architect Ippolito Scalza of Orvieto, and inaugurated it in 1589. A marble plaque, affixed in the last century, commemorates the...

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Chiesa di San Donato

Chiesa di San Donato

The original church is said to have been built in the 5th century AD in the classical Romanesque style. Over the next thousand years, it underwent several renovations and rebuilding works until, in 1511, it was entirely rebuilt to the design of architect Nicola...

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La Cattedrale di San Nicola e San Donato

La Cattedrale di San Nicola e San Donato

Cattedrale di san Nicola e san donato is located in Piazza Cavour, one of Bagnoregio's main squares. This imposing building assumed the title of Cathedral following the 1695 earthquake, replacing the Church of San Donato in the hamlet of Civita, from which it...

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Porta Santa Maria

Porta Santa Maria

Porta Santa Maria Currently, the only access to Civita is through this gate, due to the collapse of all others in the devastating earthquake of 1695. Placed on either side of the apex of the arch, two lions each grasp a female head with their claws, symbolising the...

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Belvedere

Belvedere

Belvedere Park is the starting point for the journey into the heart of the Pearl of the Calanchi, giving access to the bridge leading to Civita. From this point, the Dying City is only three hundred metres away, yet such is the emotional force of the spectacle before...

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Museo geologico delle frane

Museo geologico delle frane

Through a rich and detailed exhibition, the geological evolution of the area is recounted, explaining its problems, illustrating stabilisation interventions and recounting historical landslides. From the sea, which more than 1 million years ago submerged everything,...

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Tempietto di San Bonaventura

Tempietto di San Bonaventura

The fascinating structure, originally dedicated to St. Angelo, was acquired in the first half of the 17th century by the Venerable Company of St. Bonaventure, to whom it owes its current name, and then fell into a state of neglect. In 1856, on the initiative of Bishop...

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Chiesa dell’Annunziata

Chiesa dell’Annunziata

The majestic Romanesque-Gothic building in Bagnoregio's Piazza S. Agostino is embellished with a soaring 18th century bell tower, and serves as a treasure trove of paintings. Valuable works attributed to Taddeo di Bartolo and Giovanni di Paolo are just waiting to be...

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La grotta di San Bonaventura

La grotta di San Bonaventura

The grotto of the Belvedere di San Francesco Vecchio (originally said to have housed an Etruscan tomb) is linked to the legend of the meeting between St. Bonaventure and St. Francis. The chronicles recount that the Poverello of Assisi healed a very young Giovanni...

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The house of Saint Bonaventure

The house of Saint Bonaventure

Part of the house where St. Bonaventure was born was converted into a church as early as the first half of the 16th century. It is worth making an effort of imagination and soul, to try to perceive the transcendent and spiritual reflection that characterised...

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Bagnoregio e Civita di Bagnoregio

Bagnoregio e Civita di Bagnoregio

Civita, also known as the Dying City, was the birthplace of St. Bonaventure, an important theologian and the first biographer of St. Francis of Assisi. Founded by the Etruscans more than two millennia ago, it was the Romans who changed its name to Balneum Regis, from...

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