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Italy: a visit to Civita di Bagnoregio

Between the Tevere River and Bolsena lake, in the green latium countryside, on the top of a clay hill, rises the small town "Civita di Bagnoregio". Civita appears isolated on a cliff spur to dominate the around valley and, thanks to this isolation, the town shows intact its medieval architectonical structure. Joined to Bagnoregio, and to the world, through only one bridge, Civita appears in an unreal isolation due to landslip series and downfall of argillaceous ground on which the entire town is built and that is still in danger. The History of Civita and Bagnoregio links each to other and the legend wants that Longobardi's king Desiderio named the city Bagnoregium after he was there to cure serious disease with local thermal water (Bagnoregio is a word composed by bagno (means: bath) and regio (regal, king)). The urban planning of the city is of Etruscan origin, constituted from ortogonal alleys as Etruscan and later roman use, while the entire architectonic has medioeval and rinascimentale styles. Several sculptures of medieval age, pertaining to buildings destroyed for continuous landslips are inglobated on the arc and in the wall to the sides of town access gate.

The heart of the village of Civita is constituted from San Donato square, on which the cathedral dome rises. The cathedral was built in centuries VII - VIII, over a more ancient pagan temple. The building was widened in the XI XII when a bell tower was built too. In origin the cathedral had to be faced from a porch, today destroyed, like us testifies the rests of two columns placed the facade. Inside, the building, has three naves splitted by columns of medieval origin.

Always in San Donato square, on the left of the bell tower, there is a passage that leads to the building of medieval jails, while on the southern side of the square we have "Via della Maestą" where we can see fragments of typical longobard sculptures. At the end of this road there were the gate of the Maestą, collapsed with the church of "Santa Maria della Maestą" after a landslip in 1695. From there, a narrow lane came down to the water sources of Civita, in particular to source of the Columns and in the zone called "dell'Uncino" (hook), where, for the legend, was located the thermal source from which Bagnoregium name derived.


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