In central Italy, on the border between Lazio and Umbria, between Lake Bolsena and the Tiber Valley, there is an area of 6197 hectares called “Paesaggio Culturale di Civita di Bagnoregio (PCCB)”. This one is nominated for 2022 Unesco Site in the specific category “Cultural Landscapes” and it includes six municipalities belonging to the province of Viterbo: Civita di Bagnoregio, Bagnoregio, Lubriano, Civitella d’Agliano, Castiglione in Teverina and Graffignano.
This territory is located in the Valle dei Calanchi, a vast area of clayey rock formed over time by the rains erosion, and it’s characterized by an intense geomorphological activity (landslides, seismic events, erosion) which makes the landscape particularly fragile and contributes to a gradual depopulation process. Indeed, according to Istat data, between 1961 and 2021 the population decreased on average by 25%, reaching an extreme peak of 96.33% if we consider only the small fraction of Civita di Bagnoregio. The latter, due to its unstable natural characteristics, was defined in 1967 by the writer Bonaventura Tecchi as “La città che muore”. In the last fifty years the number of its inhabitants has dropped drastically, indeed in 2022 only eleven people populate Civita.
Despite these villages continue to be researched because they’re realities experienced as an era far from contemporaneity and suspended in time. With the candidacy for Unesco heritage the concept of time is questioned: the past helps to reflect on the cultural and historical importance of these municipalities while the present gives an idea of the relationship between absence and presence of the human figure. These aspects manifest themselves in the landscape in the form of lived human traces to be traveled slowly towards new horizons and a possible future for a place that doesn’t want to lose its identity.
Matteo Capone was born in 1997 in Rome. In 2020 he graduated in Photography in the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Rome with honors. This institute allowed him to know and deep in the world of photography and to mature both as a person as an author. The visual arts have always intrigued and fascinated him indeed he chose to become a photographer to get to know different places, people and cultures, to express his feelings and to actively contribute to important social issues.
© text and pictures by Matteo Capone