Saturday, February 25, 2012

Next, Onto Citiva di Bagnoregio

02/21, Tuesday, Dick's 71st Birthday
Sandy treats me to breakfast in bed...actually delivered from the B&, cornflakes, croissant, and boxed juice. Still, a nice way to start my 71st year! Oh, and two dark chocolate Lindt candy bars from Sandy. Yum!

With only a few hours before busing to Civita, we embark on a stroll along the ramparts at the west end of Orvieto. It provides excellent views to the valley and hills beyond. The rolling hills of the countryside are beautiful. It's fun to imagine life here centuries ago.
Dick has a new best friend. He saw some ceramic liquor mugs that he liked, so since it was his birthday in the shop we went. The very nice ceramic artist just had his birthday so a bond was formed and we now have four cute little mugs.

The blue bus takes about an hour, traveling only 15 km, hairpin turns and country roads. Arriving in new Civita, we discovered the bus service to reach the bridge to Civita, the old town, is not operating, leaving us a walk of about 1.5km. The bridge to Civita crosses a valley, the final 500km of which is a 40 degree climb. The view of this "dead city" before walking the bridge is unbelievable. What an adventure ! This is the town that Rick Steves states is his favorite hill town. What a step into the past.

Civita is a curiosity and a history lesson, it is known as "The Dead City". Many of the building have crumbled off the edge of the pinnacle due to erosion. Most of the population left the city for new Civita. Today there are only 10-14 residents, and lots of stray cats. Looking through windows on some buildings reveal only the valley below. Interestingly, while many buildings are empty, there is reconstruction in progress. This is definitely the ultimate get away.

Our B&B is easy to find, right on the square catty-corner from the church. Franco and Nina are there to greet us with a half-liter of red wine, and stories about the town and Rick Steves. Franco met him 20+ years ago when Rick was backpacking through Italy, before he became a travel guru. Franco has spent over 20 years promoting Civita which has payed off. It is a popular tourist destination, and has been used as the backdrop for two recent movies, but tonight I think we are the only visitors.

In less than an hour, we take RS's self tour, including the sun setting over the valley which is breathtaking. The town is about 1/4-mile long by 1/8-mile wide, and shrinking.

Nima prepares and serves our dinner at the B&B. BIG surprise for me is a birthday "cake", a single candle in a big piece of tiramisu, and singing by Sandy and Gina. What a great way to bring in #71!

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