Civita di Bagnoregio

Native son Bonaventure Tecchi provided the best definition of Civita: “the dying town.” The inevitable destiny of the place, the surreal landscape of the muddy gullies that besiege the village, the contrast of their murky colors with the golden hues of the tuff, make Civita a unique place, sunny and gloomy at the same time, alive and spectral, depending on the mood of whoever looks upon it from the precipice of the Belvedere, the “aerial” termination - nearly - of the historic center of Bagnoregio, which begins at the splendid Porta Albana.

Across from the Belvedere, linked to the world by a single, narrow bridge 300 meters long, stands Civita, set gently upon its summit, with its tuft of medieval houses.
Entering the village (so to speak: just a handful of people live there), the first important monument one encounters is Porta Santa Maria, surmounted by pair of lions clutching two human heads, a symbol of the tyrants defeated by the bagnoresi, the people of Bagnoregio. Farther down, Via S. Maria opens up into the main square, where one finds the Romanesque Church of San Donato, remodeled in the 16th century. It holds a marvelous 15th-century wooden Crucifix by the school of Donatello, and a fresco by the school of Perugino.

Places worthy of a visit in Bagnoregio are the Renaissance Porta Albana, the design of which is attributed to the architect Ippolito Scalza; the Tempietto of San Bonaventura, with a Greek cross plan and a dome; and the San Nicola Cathedral. The present day temple was first renovated in 1606, and has undergone a number of changes. Precious works inside include a Bible from the 12th century, which may have belonged to St. Bonaventure, and the silver reliquary in the shape of an arm giving a blessing, which holds relics of the Saint.
Another important building is the Romanesque-Gothic Church of the Annunziata, flanked by a slender bell tower from 1753 and holding a rich collection of paintings. It has a beautiful courtyard, built in 1524 to plans by the architect Michele Sammicheli, and a well from 1604 by Ippolito Scalza.

At the eastern edge of the Belvedere, where the Franciscan convent once stood, there is a cave dug into the ground, called the “grotta di San Bonaventura.” According to tradition, the adolescent philosopher was cured here after his mother had invoked Francis of Assisi, who had just recently died (on October 3, 1226).

Local Products
Excellent pork products, because they are processed entirely using time-honored traditional methods, both fresh and cured meats (prosciutto, sausage, capocollo and lombetti, rolled bacon with herbs and spices, porchetta spiced roast pork).

Local dishes
Fettuccine served strictly with a sauce made with chicken giblets.