By Stephanie Bower
It's been about three weeks since I arrived in Italy from Seattle, and I am now settling into the tiny, ancient hill town of Civita di Bagnoregio, a short distance north of Rome. The Italians refer to Civita as il paese che muore ("the town that is dying"), as the soil erosion around the town of only eight permanent residents has left it isolated and virtually in the clouds.
The Civita Institute (www.niausi.org), a non-profit based in Seattle, helps to support the town and sends people here with study fellowships each year. I'm in Civita for two months with the Astra Zarina Fellowship, to teach a sketching workshop and create a much-needed illustrated architectural walking guide to the town, before heading to the USk Symposium in Brazil.
Thousands of visitors show up in Civita each year, walk from one end to the town in only a few minutes, and have no idea that they are walking an ancient 2,500-year-old Etruscan road, enjoying an espresso in a Roman forum, or meandering through tiny medieval streets. No cars here, as access is across a narrow, steep bridge, and until recently, donkeys were the primary transport. Walking the town, one is transported back to medieval Italy, and the views out to the landscape are nothing short of breathtaking.
I'll be making a few guest posts to this blog in the coming weeks, taking photos of my sketches with my camera... I hope you will follow my adventure!
Stephanie Bower is a correspondent of Urban Sketchers Seattle. See more of her work on her website, blog and flickr.