My friends Linda and Steve suggested we take a drive to Civita di Bagnoregio this afternoon. Said Steve, “It’ll blow your mind.” Sarcasm. That’s what comes of living in Rome and Orvieto for 14 years: You get jaded about living 20 minutes from a 2700-year-old town perched above a green Italian valley known as “The Dying City.” But I’m una turista so it actually did blow my mind a little.
It’s called the Dying City because of all the erosion, which really kicked in after a major earthquake hit in the 17th century. Over the next 200 years, the erosion increased to such an extent that the city became almost an island to itself, accessible only by a steep wooden bridge.
Now, not many people live there—only about 20 year-round—but thanks to a gushing nod from Rick Steves, it’s a tourist destination, particularly in the summer months.
After walking across the long bridge—the old wooden bridge has been replaced by a more modern concrete one, and climbing the steep path to enter the town, we strolled though the cobblestone streets to the main piazza. Just beyond, for €1, we descended into the ancient caves where olive oil was once pressed. It didn’t look like the most hospitable accommodations but people did live—and cook—here.
But they had a pretty nice view.
And wine was plentiful.
Olio, vino e una buona vista…not a bad life.