The Long and Hot Climb
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The Italian village of Civita di Bagnorgeio dates back to the Bronze Age, when a tiny community developed on a narrow strip of the Bagnoregio plateau jutting out within a valley of ever changing Piliocene hills. The little settlement was active during the Iron Age. During the Etruscan period the hamlet expanded over the rest of the plateau, where the present much larger town of Bagnoregio stands. Ghibellines attacked Civita in the 14th century, but the village was defended by the Monaldeschi della Cevara and then owned by this powerful family. Over centuries wind and rain ate away at the ridge connecting Civita with Bagnoregio, resulting in Civita turning into a dying village. Itâ€™s still known as â€œthe dying villageâ€ though today itâ€™s kept alive by tourism, thanks to the bridge built in 1965.
Very few people live in Civita. Many of the buildings there are beautifully renovated. Some include shops and restaurants and others are vacation homes rented out. No cars and trucks are allowed in the village. Visitors can only reach it on foot.
Just as my friend Julie and I began the long and hot climb up the bridge to Bagnoregio, this shirtless gentleman with a cane walked by us. The bridge is much steeper than it looks.
Also by Deborah Downes
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