The village of Civita di Bagnoregio is located in the valley of the calanchi, an area located between Lake Bolsena to the west and the Tiber valley to the east, in Lazio. Originally these places had to be more gentle and accessible and they were crossed by an ancient road that connected the Tiber valley to Lake Bolsena. The morphology of this area was caused by erosion and landslides. The territory consists of two distinct chronological and type formations. The oldest is clayey, of marine origin and constitutes the base layer, particularly susceptible to erosion. The upper layers are instead made of tuff and lava material. The rapid erosion is due to the work of streams, atmospheric agents, but also for deforestation. Located in an isolated position, Civita can only be reached via a reinforced concrete pedestrian bridge built in 1965. The bridge can only be walked on foot but the town of Bagnoregio, meeting the needs of those who live or work in this place, has issued a circular in which it states that residents and authorized persons can cross the bridge on cycles and motorcycles at certain times. The cause of its isolation is the progressive erosion of the surrounding hill and valley, which has given rise to the typical shingles and continues in the 21st century, risking the disappearance of the village.
Civita was founded 2500 years ago by the Etruscans. It rises on one of the oldest roads in Italy, connecting the Tiber (then the great navigation route of Central Italy) and Lake Bolsena. In the ancient town of Civita was accessed by five doors, while today the port of Santa Maria or Cava represents the main one, and Civita can be accessed from the valley of the hills through a suggestive gallery excavated in the rock. The urban structure of the entire town is of Etruscan origin, consisting of cardi and decumani according to Etruscan and then Roman, while the entire architectural coating is medieval and Renaissance. Numerous are the testimonies of the Etruscan phase of Civita, especially in the area called Old St. Francis; in fact, a small Etruscan necropolis was found in the cliff underneath the old belvedere of San Francesco. The San Bonaventura cave, which says that San Francesco resuscitated the little Giovanni Fidanza, which later became San Bonaventura, is actually an Etruscan chamber tomb. The Etruscans made Civita (of which we do not know the ancient name) a thriving city, favored by its strategic position for trade, thanks to its proximity to the most important ways of communication of the time. the problem of erosion was already at the time of the Etruscans very important. Then they put into action some works that had the precise purpose of protecting Civita from earthquakes and landslides, rushing down rivers and building drainage channels for the proper flow of rainwater. The Romans resumed the works of their predecessors, but after them these were neglected and the territory had a rapid degradation that eventually led to the abandonment of Civita.
Inside the village there are several medieval houses, the church of San Donato, which overlooks the main square and where the S.S. Wooden Crucifix, the Bishop's Palace, a 16th-century mill, the home of St. Bonaventure and the gate of Santa Maria, with two lions holding a human head between the legs, in memory of a popular revolt of the inhabitants of Civita against the Orvietan family of the Monaldeschi.