Civita di Bagnoregio is an ancient town – founded by the Etruscans more than 2500 years ago – in the Province of Viterbo, north east of Lake Bolsena, belonging to the municipality of Bagnoregio, 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) away. It is the birthplace of Saint Bonaventure, died in 1274,
By the 16th century, Civita started to decline, and got included in the more modern town of Bagnoregio.
At the end of the 17th century, a disastrous earthquake obliged the bishop and the local government to move to Bagnoregio and the decline of the small town accelerated.
In the 19th century, Civita had the appearance of an island because the erosion had almost destroyed the lower part of the clay hill and becames known as “the dying town”.
The town is famous for its stunning position on the top of a volcanic tufa hill overlooking the Tiber valley, in constant danger of destruction as its edges fall off, leaving the buildings built on the plateau to crumble. The inhabitants, today, sum up to some 12 people in winter and more than 100 in summer.
The town was placed on the World Monuments Fund’s 2006 Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites, because of threats it faces from erosion and unregulated tourism.