From Orvieto to Civita di Bagnoregio
Vineyards, olive groves, tufa rock and clay
The geographical area which currently includes the administrative borders of three regions – Umbria, Latium and Tuscany – was really a homogeneous area in ancient times, and the beating heart of Etruria. The trait d'union of these lands, besides the events that marked the history and the government affairs of this territory, is first and foremost their natural origin: the presence of Pliocene clay dating back to over two million years ago in the valleys and the low hills; the sandstone, going uphill, and the volcanic rocks further up, amongst which the tufa and basalt stones, whether crumbly or compact, the result of the many eruptions of the Vulsini volcanic apparatus, approximately 400 thousand years ago. The structure and chemical composition of those soils and the soft slope of the medium height hills, made cultivations easy and profitable over the centuries, especially grapes and olives. The landscape that resulted is pleasant, populated and... scented, depending on the season! This winding itinerary starting from Orvieto and going through cultivated fields and rural towns will lead you across the border between Umbria and Latium to reach Civita di Bagnoregio's Valley of Calanchi.
From Piazza Cahen, looking at the funicular station, take the downhill road to your right, that borders the walls of the Albornoz Rock. Fill your flask or water bottle from a typical basalt stone fountain at the very start of your journey. Keep on walking downhill and turn right once you have walked past the city walls. Keep to the main path as you go downhill. You will notice the imposing tufa rock overlooking you. After approximately 900 metres, you will cross a tarmac road bearing a funny name: Strada Comunale Corta Stazione (the short municipality station road). Turn right and proceed keeping to the side of the road for approximately 200 metres. You will see the imposing monastic complex of the Abbey of Saints Severus and Martyrius in the background, which dates back to the early Middle Ages and is now a luxurious hotel.Turn left at the crossroads and proceed uphill along provincial road SP 111 dell'Abbadia following signs to Porano. After approximately 1.5 kilometres, occupied by a series of hairpin bends, before the road goes uphill again a dirt road to your left will take you to Locality La Cacciata. You will venture in the depth of the countryside and reach the dwellings of Canale Vecchio, after approximately 2 kilometres. Walk past the houses and on a small yellow bridge to your right, and further on, after a short uphill stretch, you will come across the district of Canale Nuovo, again to your right. You will then be in the centre of the small village, where you can re-fill your flask or water bottle from a fountain. You will be half way along your itinerary at this point and, if for any reason ,you left your packed lunch behind, no need to worry! You can make up for it in the shops of the main square (bar, food store, butcher's).
After a rest, leave the square and turn left along the Bagnorese Provincial Road for slightly more than a kilometre. Vineyards and olive groves will characterize the scenery around you as far as the eye can reach, together with wine companies and typical and well renovated farmhouses. Pay attention! You will notice an unmistakeable sign to your right: Il Botto. Follow the sign and turn right after approximately 50 metres, where...the tarmac road will end..! From there on a large dirt road will cross the countryside for approximately 4 kilometres in locality Le Macchie; cultivated fields will gradually be replaced by coppice woodland, mainly Turkey Oaks, Downy Oaks and Chestnut trees. Almost magically and without realizing it, you will find yourselves in the region of Latium, near Lubriano, a small municipality of 941 inhabitants, which is rich in history and traditions, now resumed thanks to the town's Naturalistic Museum and the related excursion itinerary. From the viewpoint of Lubriano's Church of the Madonna del Poggio, in front of you, admire the moon-like landscape of the Valley of Calanchi and an unusual and wide view of Civita di Bagnoregio. Start on the museum itinerary following the signs located at the beginning of the historic town centre and freshen up at the beautiful fountain/washhouse. Walk downhill for approximately 900 metres reaching the bottom of the valley; turn right, along the river and cross it, when you find a ford. One last effort: take the left turning after 30 metres and one last uphill stretch, of approximately 400 metres will lead you through a beautiful and abandoned chestnut grove and, following that, a tunnel of Etruscan origins. You have now reached Civita di Bagnoregio.
There is public transport to go back to Orvieto, and you can take the COTRAL public bus from the terminus in Bagnoregio's Piazzale Battaglini. We suggest you check the timetable in advance from http://www.cotralspa.it