All alone on a hilltop is one of Italy's most magnificent hilltop villages . A village called Civita di Bagnoregio. Visiting here is to return to another century, to enter another world.
Many are the gorgeous villages in Italy but this one is super special. For one thing it is so quiet - come here a little out of season and the silence - particularly at dawn is overwhelming. Of course being completely car free helps a lot.
According to Franco, the owner of Civita B&B ( the very best place to stay in the town) the only motorised vehicle is a little tractor that brings supplies in to the residents.
In fact, If you arrive by car, you'll need to leave it on the opposite hill and walk across the causeway that joins the hilltops.
Once you get across the causeway you're in for a treat. From the moment you enter the impressive Roman gateway time starts scrolling back through the centuries and by the time you're out the other side of the arch you've gone back at least six hundred years.
There's no real list of particular buildings to see because everything is worth seeing. My advice is to simply lose yourself in the maze of lanes and alleys, enjoy the view whenever you glimpse it between buildings and stop for a slow cappuccino in the piazza.
Don't rush anything here - to rush would be a sacrilege of the very spirit of this and similar towns. Actually, my advice would be to spend at least a night here at the Civita B&B. Stroll the streets in the evening, enjoy a great meal under the spectacular starry skies and savor the atmosphere of life in a car-free and beautiful medieval piazza late into the night. This is true food for the soul.
A friend of mine's nonna (grandmother) chatted to me of how things once were here when she was a child. She tells me that the narrow cobbled lanes meant that a family, their dog and maybe a donkey too could all pass by without a problem.
They'd often stop and chat with other families and if more people came by they'd all walk along a little farther until they came to the piazza. Here they'd gossip to their heart's content, the kids would run and play and the donkey and dogs would catch up on the latest donkey and dog news.
Now that families are so much smaller they all need big SUV's to get from A to B, in many little towns they hoot when they get stuck in traffic along narrow streets and they speed off again as fast as they can and as soon as they can.
I guess that's progress
Thank goodness that world is one that will never come to Civita di Bagnoregio. Here nothing much has changed since nonna's time. Long may it stay so.