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The origins of Bagnoregio go back to the pre-Etruscan era but, due to the large number of earthquakes it has suffered, very little has remained of its past. The area around Bagnoregio offers its visitors a vast and luxurious vegetation where it is possible to enjoy relaxation and tranquillity. The most interesting buildings are the Piramide-Ossario, which dates from the end of the eighteen hundreds; the Porta Alabana, which constituted the entrance to the town; Piazza Cavour where the Monumento ai Caduti di tutte le guerre (War Memorial for all wars) has been built; the Church dell'Annunziata, in Roman-Gothic style, dating back to the middle of the 1700's.
Civita di Bagnoregio is also known as the“dying town. The tuffaceous hill upon which Civita stands is undermined by the continuous erosion caused by two streams flowing in the valleys below and by the action of rain and wind: thus it is crumbling away, slowly but inexorably. Today Civita is an enchanted place, where time seems to have stopped. From Civita, you can take a wonderful view over the lunar landscape created by the Calanchi (big clay formations rising all around Civita). The complete absence of cars makes the atmosphere inside Civita even more unreal. Across from the Belvedere, linked to the world by a single, narrow bridge 300 meters long, stands Civita, set gently upon its summit, with its tuft of medieval houses. Entering the village, the first important monument one encounters is Porta Santa Maria, surmounted by pair of lions clutching two human heads, a symbol of the tyrants defeated by the bagnoresi, the people of Bagnoregio. Farther down, Via S. Maria opens up into the main square, where one finds the Romanesque Church of San Donato, remodeled in the 16th century. It holds a marvelous 15th-century wooden Crucifix by the school of Donatello, and a fresco by the school of Perugino. The Renaissance palaces of the Colesanti, Bocca and Alemanni families stand out in the tiny streets among low usual houses with small balconies and outside stairs called profferli, typical of medieval architecture in Viterbo. It was once a thriving town, built by the Etruscan to protect a road leading from Lake Bolsena to the north across the Tiber valley. Rebuilt in the Middle Ages, Bagnoregio became an important centre with churches, hospices and homes of illustrious families. It was also the hometown of St. Bonaventura, a famous philosopher and churchman who wrote, among other things, a book about the life of St. Francis of Assisi. In the late Renaissance famous men of letters visited the town like, for example, the learned humanist Annibal Caro. In 1695, a terrible earthquake forced the inhabitants of Civita to leave the town forever. Consequently, Bagnoregio was condemned to a slow, painful agony.
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