Not far from Viterbo is the town of Bagnoregio. This is the land of ravines, badlands, and the very famous village of Civita, reachable only on foot.

As with the best small village tradition, one reaches the historic centre through a Renaissance gate and seeks out the Cathedral, whose splendour protects two medieval monumenta: the illuminated Bible and Holy Arm with the relics of Saint Bonaventure, the medieval theologian who was born here. The village is worth a walk around, but the belvedere holds a spectacle of the Valle dei Calanchi, badlands made of jagged precipices of yellow clay. Civita in the background is irresistible, magnificent and surreal at sunset.

A kilometre on foot and over the bridge you enter Civita, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, inhabited by fewer than 20 people due to the slow erosion of the badlands, already shored up by Etruscans and Romans. Thousands of visitors flock here from all over the world to admire the timeless appearance and magical atmosphere of its narrow lanes, in a rigorous, ancient silence. Perhaps also because the town risks disappearing altogether. Due to its uniqueness, Civita di Bagnoregio is now a candidate for UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites.

The extraordinary location lends itself perfectly to the representation of the Living Nativity Scene in Civita and the historical-religious re-enactment of Good Friday. Not to be missed are La Tonna, a donkey race with jockeys held on the first Sunday of June and second of September. The celebrations in honour of Saint Bonaventure in July and Saint Hildebrand in the last ten days of August are also characteristic. On May 1st is the evocative tour of the badlands, Passeggiata dei Calanchi, and in the first ten days of June, the very interesting Conference of Studies on St. Bonaventure.

The local dishes include fettuccine noodles seasoned with chicken giblets and piciarelli, a rustic pasta that pairs well with Orvieto and Colli Etruschi, both DOC wines. And finally, the pride of the Viterbo area, the hazelnuts and the Celleno variety of cherries.

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Cities and Villages