Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 3“il “Paese che muore” The dying town. On a plateau overlooking the Tiber River Valley, Civita Di Bagnoregio is in constant danger of destruction due to the continuously eroding clay rock. This rock makes up the walls surrounding the old town^ and slowly but surely is crumbling around the city.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 4As the city continues to erode and crumble, the settlement has became isolated and only a handful of residents stay in the old city year round. The only way to access the city is by this foot bridge, which only small motor bikes and people walking on foot can transit.


Naples to Civita Di BagnoregioFrom Naples its about a 3 hour drive, just to show you where I was coming from.

Orvieto to Civita Di BagnoregioFrom the town of Orvieto which is much more well known, it is about a 36 minute drive, only 18 km, but the roads are very slow and windy.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 5

Crossing the foot bridge to the Old City

We arrived, parked our car in the city of Bagnoregio and then walked down and across, hoping for some dinner. If you look at the picture closely you can see the bells situated in the tall rods of wheat as you work your way over. They gave off such a cute jingling sound as the wind sways them.

Here’s the video:

Okay I won’t deny that the wind had picked up a bit as we were crossing but if you listen carefully you can hear the bells jingling.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 6 Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 7Right before we started walking over I befriended yet another sheep dog and a few scratches on the ears and some really good ones on the tummy encouraged him to get up and join us as we walked over to the city.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 9He was wondering why I kept stopping so much. Clearly he hasn’t been made aware of the demands of social media. 

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 10My dad opted to hold his hat so he didn’t loose it and was looking out over the Tiger Valley.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 11

The Eroding Rock of Civita Di Begnoregio

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 12Once across we came upon this gate. If you look behind it you can see that wall just standing up with nothing on the other side. The building has eroded and fallen off.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 13

Entrance into the Old Town of Civita Di Begnoregio

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 14Here, Mr. Sheep Dog parted ways with us, but we were happy he came along for the journey.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 15Flowers in the old town, really bring the place to life. There are only about 6 inhabitants that live in the city through the winter. During the summer, and “tourist season” there’s about 100 people that sleep in the old city at night.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 16Cattedrale Di S. Donato. According to some, it was built around VII-VIII Century on the area of pre-existing pagan temple to be transformed and enlarged. It was equipped with the bell tower in romanic style. Originally, there used to be a porch in front of the church but it was probably destroyed around 1494.

The church was renovated in 1511 by the request of Bishop Ferdinando Di Castiglia. The facade was completed in 1523-1527 with Bishop Mercurio Vipera.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 17Some of the old buildings. This town has stood unaffected by war and modern technology, but the irony is that it is affected by erosion and loose clay.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 18We were on the lookout for some good food and found a restaurant that was still open we could eat at. This area is obviously for the tourists but the food is VERY good. I highly recommend eating over here if you get the chance.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 19As we walked back across after dinner, I saw these cats sitting on one of the spotlights trying to keep warm. I hissed but they had no reaction. I’d take a sheep herder dog any day over cats. eww.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 20As twilight loomed I decided to try my luck with a few photos, no flash. Here’s the best effort.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 21 Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 22I didn’t have a tripod but tried to use the base of a statue as one. I thought it turned out pretty cool, because the ledge is still in the photo.

For our accommodation, I took the recommendation of a coworker but was a bit disappointed. The guy he booked through has a website but its an email only thing. He’s also the same guy you can find in the Rick Steve’s book for this area.

Wanna book?    is the email address. It’s recommended because they do speak English which is very nice.

Our problem was that we booked a double room in the Old City and we were confirmed for a double room in the Old City. When we arrived they had changed the location and we weren’t staying in the Old City, we were staying across the footbridge in the town. They own a restaurant in the Old City and that’s the only place with wifi and where you will go for free breakfast. There was no wifi in the place we were given. I didn’t like that. Plus it was almost a 35 minute walk from where we were staying all the way up into the Old City. We didn’t like that either.

Although the place we were given was newly renovated and nice it wasn’t want I requested or asked for. It was a typical “va bene” (it’s fine don’t worry) Italian response. They told us it was a 15 minute walk to the Old City, and they weren’t truthful. I hate getting bamboozled but we got there in the evening so there wasn’t much we could do.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 23The next morning we decided to walk back over to the old city for breakfast.

Who is the patron saint of the city you ask?

Civita di Bagnoregio was the birthplace of St. Bonaventure who was born around 1217 in the family of the noble Giovanni Fidanza and Maria di Ritello, sensitive to the Franciscan spirit. Considered the most illustrious citizen in the history of Bagnoregio.

He was proclaimed a saint in 1482 and in 1554 his house was transformed into a holy place during the XVI century. It was destroyed by the perimetric landslides of the cliff in 1846.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 24You can tell what a difference the morning light has on the place. Really pretty.

Left and right side of the tiger valley without the city in between. I thought this was a cool setup and that’s why I tried to place them side by side.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 30Getting supplies over in the old city. Mostly consists of riding them over on dirt bikes or pedal bikes, no big trucks with supplies can come over, that’s for sure. Everyone probably helps everyone out when ordering supplies to brought over.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 31

Mr. Sheep Herder was nowhere to be seen today

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 34As we looked for our restaurant to eat breakfast, we were exploring the back alley’s. The Old Town is so tiny there is only one main road that stretches all the way across and then it branches off into dead end alley’s. You can walk the whole town in 10 minutes.

Also, the night before when we walked across for dinner there wasn’t anyone making us pay to go across. In the morning there was a guy standing there that wanted 1.50 euro for entry to the Old City. We told him we were staying in a property and were going to get breakfast at the owner’s restaurant. He didn’t make us pay.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 35The website for the Old City, in case you need it. In the restaurant we had our breakfast.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 33After a typical Italian breakfast of cafe, croissant, or toast, we walked around the Old City one more time before heading back across to Cammy the Camry.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 36From one of the alley’s, this is your view over the side of the cliff. It really does go straight down as it erodes further and further inward.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 37

Another photo of the Cathederale

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 38Where we had come for dinner the night before. I just loved the morning light.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 39One of the doors was open to show an abandoned house where some kittens were hanging out, waiting on their mom.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 40Really beautiful wooden doors make the perfect contrast against the stark walls of the city.

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 41

Down one of the other Alleys

Civita Di Begnoregio, Italy 42Flowers all along the steps, really quite beautiful!

After walking back to the car, we loaded up our few bags and got back on the road, our weekend chasing WWII relics, stopping a WWII cemeteries, touring the Abbey of Montecassino, rushing to wineries, and the lot, had come to an end.

But don’t worry! we’ve got big things planned for next weekend too 🙂

This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.