A visit to Rome is always a lively and energetic adventure. With so many interesting sights, a visitor can become overwhelmed by the action. Whenever I visit Rome, I always take at least one day to escape the frenzy and seize the opportunity to experience a different side of Italy. Located about 65 miles north of Rome, Civita di Bagnoregio offers a quiet day in a small town.
Spectacular and Scenic Civita
Overlooking the valley from a precarious perch atop a decaying plateau, the Civita we visit today is a mere remnant of the thriving medieval town of its past. A long pedestrian bridge leading from the nearby community of Bagnoregio serves as the only access to the town. Traffic-free and remote, Civita is the perfect place for a relaxed afternoon. A small museum carved into the rock wall displays a vintage olive press, but the town itself is the real attraction. Photo opportunities abound in the crumbling walls and doorways of ancient buildings, and a stroll along the streets in any direction abruptly ends with a spectacular view.
Quiet Setting and Delicious Lunch
Civita offers two excellent options for a leisurely lunch. The recently opened Alma Civita restaurant located just beyond the town square on Via della Providenza serves regional specialties with seasonal ingredients. The Trattoria Antico Forno, specializing in fresh pasta and bruschetta, occupies a 15th-century building located on the town square. Visitors who choose to not walk across to Civita can experience great views of Civita and the surrounding canyon from the parking area on the Bagnoregio side of the footbridge. The Hostaria del Ponte, located at Via Mercatello 11, provides a pleasant lunch with a panoramic view of the area.
While it is not strenuous, the walk across the footbridge from Bagnoregio to Civita is fairly steep, and the streets of Civita are rarely level. Sturdy walking shoes are a necessity. Both the bridge and the town itself are exposed to the elements, so visitors should pay attention to the weather and wear appropriate clothing. With very little shade available, a hat and sunscreen are also advisable.
Civita is best reached by car. An easy 90-minute drive from Rome follows the northbound A1 motorway to the Orvieto exit. From there signs lead the way to Bagnoregio di Civita. To avoid driving out of or into Rome, one can take the train to Orvieto and rent a car there for the day. Visitors can also reach Bagnoregio by taking the train from Rome to Orvieto and taking the bus from Orvieto to Bagnoregio. However, this option requires careful planning since the bus service is very limited. Travelers who make the effort to visit this area are well rewarded with a unique experience.