The "Dying City" of Civita di Bagnoregio: Background information when reading Return to Valetto

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Return to Valetto

A Novel

by Dominic Smith

Return to Valetto by Dominic Smith X
Return to Valetto by Dominic Smith
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Published:
    Jun 2023, 336 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
Buy This Book

About this Book

The "Dying City" of Civita di Bagnoregio

This article relates to Return to Valetto

Civita di Bagnoregio Dominic Smith's novel Return to Valetto was in part inspired by his visit to Civita di Bagnoregio, a town roughly 60 miles north of Rome. Known as "Il paese che muore" or "The Dying City," this tiny village sits atop a crumbling column of clay and tufa (a type of soft volcanic rock common in the region). As the column continues to erode the city's livable area decreases; the village will eventually be destroyed.

Civita di Bagnoregio, frequently referred to as just Civita, was founded around 500 BCE by the Etruscans, a civilization that ruled central Italy from approximately the 8th to the 3rd centuries BCE. The city was ideally situated on a towering plateau rising out of a valley between two rivers, the Rio Chiaro and the Rio Torbido. Its height gave it a commanding view of the territory below and protected its residents from floods and malaria that plagued the lowlands. Rio Torbido is a tributary located near the mouth of the Tiber River – a strategically important waterway...

Subscribers Only

This article is only available to members at this time, but you can read these articles for free.

About Membership

Member Login

Library Patron Login

BookBrowse Sale!

Join BookBrowse and discover exceptional books for just $3/mth!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Fraud
    The Fraud
    by Zadie Smith
    In a recent article for The New Yorker, Zadie Smith joked that she moved away from London, her ...
  • Book Jacket: Wasteland
    by Oliver Franklin-Wallis
    Globally, we generate more than 2 billion tons of household waste every year. That annual total ...
  • Book Jacket: Disobedient
    by Elizabeth Fremantle
    Born in Rome in 1593, Artemisia Gentileschi led a successful career as an artist throughout the ...
  • Book Jacket: Valiant Women
    Valiant Women
    by Lena S. Andrews
    When Peggy Carter first appeared on the screen in Marvel's Captain America, my reaction was, "Oh, ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Fair Rosaline
by Natasha Solomons
A subversive, powerful untelling of Romeo and Juliet by New York Times bestselling author Natasha Solomons.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The September House
    by Carissa Orlando

    A dream home becomes a haunted nightmare in this compulsively readable, twisty, and layered debut novel.

  • Book Jacket

    All You Have to Do Is Call
    by Kerri Maher

    An inspiring novel based on the true story of the Jane Collective and the brave women who fought for our right to choose.

Win This Book
Win Moscow X

25 Copies to Give Away!

A daring CIA operation threatens chaos in the Kremlin. But can Langley trust the Russian at its center?



Solve this clue:

A M I A Terrible T T W

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.