Civita di Bagnoregio

bagnoregio italy stone village on top of a hill with a long bridge leading to it

Visiting Civita di Bagnoregio was a longtime goal of mine because I wanted to see the place that is known as the dying town – perched on a cliff, and in danger of tumbling off.

I take full responsibility for throwing the road trip completely off track.

First, I recommended we pick on the rental car from Fiumicino because then we would be halfway out of Rome already.  As you might be able to guess, that turned into a total cluster, and after a significant delay we ended up with a massive van instead of large SUV.

Second, once we piled into the van, with a row of space per person, I decided unilaterally that we would continue on to Civita di Bagnoregio instead of our pre-agreed Tuscan destination. Why? Because I wanted to and sometimes, when it comes to travel, I get a tiny bit bossy.  (I like to think it is ‘assertive,’ but no, it’s plain bossy).

So we drove those tiny Italian roads in that big ole 12-passenger van, and the 5 of us made it just fine.  (And by “we,” I mean the sole boy in the group did all the frustrating driving).

It was totally worth it, because once we abandoned the car and continued on foot, we came around the bend to this:

dying city bagnoregio

This perfectly magical medieval village.

We took some moments to savor the view, but all of that sitting at Fiumicino and then sitting in the car, meant that the first order of business was finding a toilet.  We stopped at a trattoria just before the bridge that leads into the city, and arranged to come back for lunch after touring town.  The restaurant gave us a postcard for free admittance to the city, and we strolled through the gate.


If you don’t get a free pass, don’t worry, the daily entrance fee is fair considering that the aim to conserve a city that might otherwise fall into disrepair and then literally fall to the valley floor. The 3 euro tax pays for urgent repairs.

The pedestrian bridge is the only access to the village, which hosts a population of 100 in the summer and a mere 12 during the winter.  Small, but still an increase over the grand total of ZERO that lived there after the town was hit by an earthquake in the middle ages and the homes made of tufa (limestone) rock began sliding off the side of the hill.

village of Bagnoregio lazio

I ushered my jetlagged American friends through town, all collectively oohing and ahhing over just how picturesque it all was.  Founded almost 2,500 years ago, it became known as the “dying town” (il paese che muore) when it was left empty.  However, this abandonment has done wonders for preserving the gem of a place.  The crowds were tolerable and the alleyways begging to be explored. I do not think I have ever taken quite so many pictures of cute doorways at any one time.

doors in bagnoregio

After a jaunt around the tiny hilltop town, we luckily stumbled upon Osteria al Forno di Agnese. After a look at the menu, decided to try to charm our way in with no reservation rather than hike back down the hill to eat.  We got lucky and were promptly given the last available table.

eating in bagnoregio

The town is tiny, so apart from where to eat, I have very few suggestions other than to tell you to wander and enjoy the view.

eating in bagnoregio

We made it back across the bridge, up the stairs to the modern town, and into the van to continue the journey to Tuscany, happy, full and excited to have explored this little previously abandoned corner of Lazio.  It has a very different vibe from Calcata, but is just as scenic and arguably easier to get to.

lazio day trips

So while I would like the moral of this story to be about how I am always right, the real point of the post is to encourage you to take a day trip to Civita di Bagnoregio. The trip is easiest by car (it is about 100 km outside of Rome).

day trip rome bagnoregio

Alternately, you can take the train to Orvieto and then a Cotral bus from Orvieto to Civita Bagnoregio.

OR, best of all, you can actually stay in a few rental apartments even though the town has virtually no full-time residents. These are the accommodation options in Civita di Bagnoregio. (Careful when booking to be sure that it is the Civita, and not simply “Bagnoregio,” which is the more modern town nearby).

Day trip to Civita di Bagnoreggio, Italy

*Please note that if you choose to book a hotel, I might receive a small commission but you are under no obligation to do so!

8 thoughts on “Civita di Bagnoregio

  1. Lucy @ La Lingua says:

    That is breathtakingly beautiful! I’m writing to you from San Gemini today, a town that’s also perched on top of a hill (but not quite as spectacularly haha) we too are “road-tripping” at the moment as we drive up from Puglia, where Michele has a summer house, back to Milan. San Gemini is so close to Rome too, if you haven’t been you really should! I’ll post about it soon (i.e in about 6 months) to show the pics 🙂 we’re looking for somewhere to stop off on the way back today (well I am at least, Michele wants to head straight home), I wonder if Tuscany is en route.. xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua Italy

    • Natalie says:

      Wow! Sounds so nice. We still have to plan our ferragosto (SOON). Hoping to get a mountain or lake retreat within a reasonable train ride from Rome.

  2. Rozi says:

    Hi! I am moving to Rome from NYC for a few months and found your blog during my research. It’s already been so helpful and fun to read. I’ve always wanted to go to Civita di Bagnoregio and am planning to go in November. Can you tell me how you went there? Is there a train or group tours that go? Also any advice on where to go to meet fellow Americans or just some cool people to hang out with? Not sure if you did anything like that when you first moved to Rome. Thanks!!!

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Rozi! How exciting! I saved Civita di Bagnoregio for a time when my friends and I had rented a car. But you can also take the train from Rome to Orvieto (also a great day trip), and then from Orvieto, take the bus. There is more information on the bus here.

      There are plenty of group and language exchanges in Rome that make it easy to connect with other people. Maybe try Girl Gone International Rome for good meet ups!

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