Once upon a time, there was a tiny town on a hill that could only be reached on foot (or donkey). Way, high, up in the sky it stood, on a towering mound of earth. I imagined its creation centuries ago as I approached; hungry, invading giants scooped up the ground, leaving a perfect center untouched – the middle of an ice cream pint, with a cherry on top – Civita di Bagnoregio. It town unlike any other I’d seen in Italy; a piccola Italia, so solitary on its petite perch, with only one way in and one way out. Even though it’s rumored there are a mere 6 full time residents, the town keeps busy with visitors in for day trips and long weekends. And while a handful of people was enough to give the compact walled city some life, it still felt very peaceful and relaxed. No competition for unobstructed photo ops and scenic lookouts meant wandering the little streets was pleasant as could be.
Civita harkens back to a different era, a slower pace of life, when things were maybe not easy, but certainly simpler. You won’t find designer stores, late night anythings, or caricature artists here, but good, friendly people, lovely artisan shops, and dusty vines growing along warm, stone walls. Our visit was a quick one, but I could see myself staying for a day or two, just sitting in the sun, watching sheep graze in the valley below, and sampling olive oil on freshly baked, crusty bread… or licking away at gelato on a cone come a hot, summer’s day. Civita, sei una bella ragazza.