Civita di Bagnoregio is a treasure chest that holds 2500 years of history. Founded by the Etruscans, it has gone through various dominations, and in the Middle Ages, it acquired much of its extraordinary shape, enriched further during the Renaissance and preserved until today. Here, everything is a sign of a time that no longer exists, adaptation and rebirth. The current charm and allure are the offspring of this mixture of eras that have met and clashed, leaving scattered traces.
In its glorious past, the inhabited center was larger. Landslides and earthquakes have reduced its expanse, causing palaces, towers, and ancient entrance gates to crumble in the valley. During its peak magnificence, there were five gates; only one remains: Porta Santa Maria, also known as 'della Cava.' Today, it's the sole access point to the village, located at the end of the iconic bridge, now a symbol of the place.
A testimony to Civita's Etruscan phase is the cave of San Bonaventura, an Etruscan chamber tomb where it's said that St. Francis healed the young Giovanni Fidanza, who later became a celebrated Church doctor. Another relic from this period is the so-called 'Bucaione,' a deep tunnel that traverses the clay and tuff spur on which the village rests, opening out onto the Valley of the Badlands.
Civita is the 'mother' of Bagnoregio, as everything started here, giving birth to the current historic center of Bagnoregio, originally called Rota. Initially inhabited by laborers and farmers, and later, due to violent earthquakes and rock collapses, it became the dwelling place of nobles and the affluent.
The history of this place has been repeatedly marked by earthquakes, which led to the depopulation of the original village.