Civita di Bagnoregio
If you look at this town from a distance, surrounded by cliffs, you will be excused to think Civita di Bagnoregio is a town out of a fantasy book, conjured by the mind of a romance writer or a reminder of a pleasant dream.
Especially in the early morning, when the fog lifted, it gives the impression that the town is floating above the white clouds, which seem to support it.
Civita is a very unusual town. It is connected to the mainland by a single pathway, which seems hung in the air. It could not be reached by cars. This path divides world of real and world of fantastic. Indeed, when you step on it and is like the town slowly start to move away from you (the path is only 300 meters, but it seems to go on forever), you get the feeling of detachment from the real world.
Around you can see the white rocks, the trees, you can feel the smell of grass, flowers and of course blue sky ... and in the distance on the hill you can see small houses. Coming very close to the town gates, making just a few steps forward, it seems that in front of you should open a completely different reality, a different dimension.
Yet there are the usual attributes of Italian life: flower pots in the house, twined with rose’s wall, small restaurants, church, shops, and courtyards.
People walk on the streets, gesticulating actively talking to each other.
But there is something that radically distinguish it from the usual town - the almost complete lack of noise. AAnd at the end of some streets, behind the façade of some houses absolute emptiness, the abyss, just nothing.
Miracle of Civita di Bagnoregio is that a small part of the once blossoming town is still preserved. But natural and geological conditions gradually will lead to its destructions. So Civita will die. Gradually, slowly, and eventually all that will be left of this town will be memories.
The hill on which Civita di Bagnoregio stretches is formed by a layer of tuff, the result of volcanic eruptions between 700.000- 125.000 years ago. This layer of volcanic material sits on an unstable layer of sand and clay. This has led to landslides that over the centuries have seen parts of the hill, with a houses built on it to be destroyed.
Local people are very attached to the town. The desire to save it has led to constant research. In the second half of the twentieth century, for the first time techniques of electro-geo-chemical consolidation were used. With electric current the researchers wanted to change physical and chemical structure of clay layers. But landslides, river floods and an earthquake have hampered the efforts of man.
Still, the town continues to resist to destruction and fights for its existence. It is a small treasure that must be preserved. Therefore I'd like to believe that the Civita di Bagnoregio is not a town that is dying, but the town, which is fighting for its life.