Dying town – level 3

12-04-2021 07:00

The 3,000-year-old town of Civita di Bagnoregio in Italy is Italy’s so-called dying town. It’s been reduced to a third of its original size due to erosion, earthquakes, and landslides.

The town was founded by Etruscans, and it passed through the Roman era and the entire medieval period; however, the cliff is made of clay and volcanic rock, and it is always subject to rain and winds that have totally changed its appearance in recent years.

The town is now only accessible via a footbridge, and it is 152 meters long and 91 meters wide. However, its inhabitants have gone to great lengths to preserve their beloved home, attaching hundreds of steel rods to the hillside rock to prevent it from collapsing.

Tourism has been pivotal in the town’s struggle to survive. It went from 40,000 tourists a year in 2009 to over a million in 2019, bringing new jobs and a financial boost which helps fund the structure that holds the town up. Civita and the surrounding valley are a candidate to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Difficult words: erosion (the process of gradual destruction or rock or soil by wind, water, or other natural events), clay (thick, heavy earth that’s soft when it’s wet and hard when it’s dry or baked), pivotal (something that’s very important because other things depend on it).

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