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Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy

Established by the Etruscans in the sixth century b.c., Civita di Bagnoregio was one of many towns in central Italy that were hewn from tufa, the soft volcanic rock that distinguishes the region’s natural landscape. Built in part for defensive purposes, most of the hill towns retain extensive networks of carved underground passages and chambers. The town is threatened by erosion of the tufa upon which it is built. A large section of the northwest bluff of the site is in danger of collapse. A secondary threat to Civita di Bagnoregio and other nearby hill towns is the decrease in the year-round populations, due to the abandonment of the tradional agrarian lifestyle that gave rise to such towns and an increase in uncontrolled tourism, which has dramatically altered their social and cultural fabric. Today, the town has less than 12 year-round occupants, but receives as many as 3,000 tourists a day on summer weekends. A conservation masterplan and tourism management plan are urgently needed if such ancient settlements are to weather another century.


Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Tuff Towns (PDF)

Last update: December 2010