Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy | A Dying City or a Fairy Tale Town?

The ‘City of the Dead’, a nickname for Civita di Bagnoregio, a name that sounds incredibly morbid and even slightly frightening.  A name that suits this unique destination.  This city is dying, a slow death, day by day!


But don’t let the nickname scare you away from this stunning little ancient town.   Fortunately Civita di Bagnoregio has also managed to attract names such as ‘a Fairy Tale Town’ as well as an Island on the Clouds’. 

And it certainly impressed us!


How to get to Civita di Bagnoregio:

  • We highly recommend renting a car to make the trip to Civita di Bagnoregio easier! (it is about 100 km outside of Rome).  Make sure to grab a GPS with your car as well!
  • If you are not keen on driving, the trip to Civita gets a bit trickier!  You will first need to catch a train to Orvieto and then either grab the Cotral bus (check for the bus schedule) from Orvieto to Civita Bagnoregio or simply pay for a Taxi for this stretch of transfer.
  • The last option is to join one of the Civita tours.  This tour through Viator, takes you from Rome to Orvieto, on to Civita di Bagnoregio, Itlay and then back to Rome again.  Probably the easiest, least stressful way of going about it, but also the most expensive.

More about Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy

This little ancient medieval town in Italy was built around 2500 years ago. A little town frozen in time, as it is almost untouched by the Renaissance and even by modern society.  A little town clinging for dear life to the top of a plateau of friable volcanic rock, situated in a canyon that is the result of constant wind and erosion.  A dying city, a city that you should see as soon as possibly before it disappears forever!

The only way into this little town is by a steep footbridge which leads you to the entrance through Civita’s impressive town Gate. The mere fact that cars can’t get into this town, adds to its ancient atmosphere.  The only way to carry the supplies into Civita di Bagnoregio is either by foot or by moped.

Inside, you’ll find ivy-clad arches and walls, cobblestoned lanes, and sun-flooded piazzas where you can sit and relax with a gelato and absorb the view over the Church.  



It won’t take you very long to explore this unique hidden jewel.  But it will be tricky to absorb the beauty of every street, every crevice and every view over the impressive Tiber Valley.


Civita di Bagnoregio on average has only around 20 year-round residents. It seems whilst walking around this town, that there are more cat inhabitants than human ones.  The only time this town bustles with people is when tourists come to visit.


It will take you around 2 hours to get to Civita di Bagnoregio from Rome.  A trip that is definitely worthwhile and highly recommended by us.  We hired a car and turned our day into a road-trip day.  Civita di Bagnoregio was our first stop for the day, followed by some gorgeous towns in Southern Tuscany.


Things to See in Civita di Bagnoregio:

  • Romanesque Arch that was built 2,500 years ago, this arch serves as the gate and welcomes you into Civita.
  • Church on the piazza.
  • Piazza – The town’s only public space. In the evening, the piazza is the place to be, as the few residence of the hamlets socializes there.
  • Renaissance Palace remains – All that remains of an old palace is the facade, the rest collapsed into the valley from the erosion of the hill.
  • Maria’s Garden – Follow the main road to the far side of town to see a gorgeous garden with stunning canyon views.If you are lucky, Maria will greet you and show you the garden in exchange for a euro or two.
  • Etruscan Caves – A series of caves at the end of town, one of which was made into a chapel.


In all honesty, pictures whilst worth a thousand words, still just simply can not do this fairy tale town any justice.  In order to experience this surreal, magical, little town, you simply will have to make the effort to pay it a visit.


Civita B&B’s and Accommodaiton options!

If you are after something super special, why not consider actually staying in Civita itself?  There are some beautiful Civita B&B’s available through AirBnB.  If you use our link, you will also get a $35 AUD discount off your price!  Sign up with them here prior to booking for this discount!

  • Domus Civita – what a truly insanely unique experience it would be to stay here!! ”Casa Civita is a fully restored 14th century palazzo with underground caves, etruscan thombs and a Roman water cistern. Enjoy the magnificent cliff garden and the pool and jacuzzi in an ancient cave.” Check them out on AirBnB here!
  • Apartment and garden in Civita – ”The apartment is on the ground floor of Palazzo Contino with a terraced garden with a breathtaking view on the Calanchi valley and a beautiful garden full of plants and fruits.” Check them out on AirBnB here!
  • Civita di Bagnoregio | Suite – ”Unique and romantic ground floor apartment comprises entrance hall, living room with fireplace, quaint and spacious lounge and charming master bedroom suite, which offers uniqueness and character to its guests.”  Check them out on AirBnB here!
  • Case di Civita per 2 – ”The apartment is located in a building of medieval origin and retains the original structure. The floor is antique handmade terracotta, exposed beams and walls in tufo.Gli furniture were made by local craftsmen.”  Check them out on AirBnB here!


We will leave you with a fun little video of our travels there and the view from the outside of this little town.

The City of the Dead, or a Fairy Tale town?  You decide! 

But make sure you pay it a visit before this town has eroded away and disappeared into rubble.  Time will eventually win against this historic place. 



bagnoreggio pin -wanderluststorytellers

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  • Reply
    Jimmy Paine
    June 16, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Really love what U guys are doing!!.. Keep it up!!

  • Reply
    Janusz Ejmont
    June 16, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Love what you are doing. Great ideas for our holiday next year

  • Leave a Reply