Calcata Vecchia is located 50 km north of Rome in the direction of the city of Viterbo. The village of medieval architecture stands on a high cliff of volcanic rock surrounded by canyons full of vegetation, the landscape is mesmerizing, you will wonder if you are in Europe or Southeast Asia.
Past the arch carved with coats of arms of ancient families, you enter an exclusively medieval area where a few hundred people live. The atmosphere you breathe is that of a community, where everyone knows everyone and everyone is ready to welcome new visitors. What makes Calcata Vecchia different from the other picturesque villages in the area are its inhabitants, almost all artists or artisans.
Calcata in the first decades of the 20th century was completely abandoned, because its ancient structures, deprived of maintenance were at risk of collapse. During the 1960s, artists who traveled to Italy from other parts of the world discovered this village and repopulated it, giving it new life. Today, walking through the alleys and panoramic terraces, you can explore the artists' workshops and get to know them. Beneath the medieval architecture lies a much older layer of caves dug into the tuff by pre-Roman civilizations.
Civita Di Bagnoregio
Civita Di Bagnoregio is the old town, close to (modern) Bagnoregio and not far from Orvieto. You can reach it when you drive from Rome to Florence, or take a tour to visit the area and include Civita Di Bagnoregio and Orvieto. Civita Di Bagnoregio is one of the most famous and spectacular hill-top villages in Italy. It is only accessible via a long footbridge. And the views of the village are marvellous. It looks like a bunch of brick-a-brack houses are just dumped on the nearest hillside, across a green fern overgrown valley.
Once you pass the footbridge and take a million Instagram-worthy shots of Civita Di Bagnoregio, you'll enter the town. A decaying town square with the dominant church and lovely flowers. You can roam around the village, observe the historic buildings or just amuse yourself by looking at the hordes of tourists flooding the town square. I strongly recommend having an early or late lunch date at Civita Di Bagnoregio. My recommendation would be to try to get a table at La Cantina di Arianna, with a wood-burning oven and amazing local dishes.
Orvieto is one of the must-visit small towns near Rome, and one day in Orvieto will allow you to take in the major sights. A charming hill town perched on top of volcanic rock in Umbria, Orvieto offers commanding views of the surrounding countryside. In Orvieto, start by exploring the beautiful Duomo, the most-visited sight in the town. It has a spectacular facade, with golden mosaics and a lovely rose window. The bronze doors are gorgeous. Inside you will find marvelous frescoes, created by a number of Italian masters.
Another unique attraction in Orvieto is a tour of the underground. The hour-long tour allows you to explore the subterranean remains of the Etruscan civilization that flourished here long ago. Also do not miss climbing to the bottom of the Pozzo di San Patrizio: the historic well has dual staircases to allow for pack animal traffic in both directions.