No Longer the Dying City, but the City that Must Live
We were climbing a bridge to a city floating in the mist. A quiet mystery swirled about Civita di Bagnoregio. Our lungs fought to expand through our anticipation of what we would see beyond the gates.
A man asked if we would take his family's photo. In exchange, he would take ours. As the man raised our camera in front of his face, he asked if we were on our honeymoon.
"We've been married for five years," my husband said. His arm was wrapped around my shoulder, and I could feel it tighten in acknowledgement. In pride. We still looked like honeymooners.
It is in this dying city that I look at my husband, at the drops of mist gathered on his glasses, at his silent wonder over scenic views, and I am awakening to all the things I forgot I already knew.
Some men fear art and beauty as if enjoying it will destroy everything they've worked to achieve, but my husband is not this kind of man. Instead, he is a man who asks me the name of a flower, who says the one thing he can't leave Italy without seeing is the statue of David, who laughs with delight over the joy of eating grapes straight from the vine.
Civita di Bagnoregio is known as the dying city, crumbling slowly due to erosion from its location in the middle of the Tiber River Valley. This ancient Etruscan city is the birthplace of a saint. It's over 2500 years old, an adolescent in the shadow of Rome.
You can count the number of year-round residents on your fingers, but although it is tiny, it is steadfast in its dedication to hang on, to survive two world wars, to preserve its history.
It is in this dying city, that I look at my husband, at the fog seeping in around him, at his quiet state of reflection as he holds my hand and looks out at the sweeping landscape of never-ending valley, and I am awakening to all that he does to remain steadfast in his love for me.
When I travel, I try to stay away from most of what the blogs and travel books will recommend because I like to make my own discoveries. We decided to rent a car for part of our travels in Italy, and we wanted to make a stop between our drive from the Amalfi Coast to our villa outside of Florence. My method of finding something unique? Literally clicking around a google map of Italy between the two stops and google image searching the location to see what it looks like. And that, my friends, is how I found Civita di Bagnoregio.
You'll need to point your GPS to the Orvieto and follow signs to the town of Bagnoregio (different from Civita di Bagnoregio). Once you get to Bagnoregio, there will be signs for Civita. Once you enter the town, you'll see signs directing you to parking for Civita. We used the directions from this blog post to get us there.
If you are taking public transportation, travel to Orvieto and then take a bus to Bagnoregio. From there, say goodbye to your heart because you're going to leave it in Civita.