Civita, one of the most beautiful hamlets in Italy, is located in the National Pollino Park and the Natural Reserve of Gole del Raganello (Raganello Canyons).
Surrounded by a unique and varied naturalistic environment, Civita is one of the most ancient Albanian (arbëreshë) communities in Italy.
Civita (Çifti in arbëreshë), founded in 1471 by Albanian families escaping from the Turks, was built on a pre-existing ruined town (Castrum Sancti Salvatoris) that had been destroyed by a violent earthquake in 1456.
The ruined town was granted by King Ferrante of Aragon to George Castriot, the Alabanian Prince known as Scanderberg. The grant was a reward for the military support that Scanderberg and his army gave to the Crown of Aragon during the war against the Turks.
The urban structure of the town, with alleyways and squares, and the religious architecture are evidences of the cultural heritage of local population. The churches are oriented to the East and have the symbols and shapes characteristic of the Byzantine Theology. Religious functions are celebrated in Albanian.
Civita was one of the first municipalities that established a Public Office for the safeguard of the ethno-linguistic heritage.
Architectural and naturalistic beauties are equally charming. Walking along the village alleyways, visitor’s attention is drawn to the characteristic chimneys and to the “talking houses”. In summer, tourists can go trekking along the tracks in the Pollino Park, or canyoning and rafting in the Natural Reserve of Gole del Raganello.
The Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s bridge) is another attractive feature of this unique village. It is a stone bridge, suspended in mid-air, and folklore says that it was built by Lucifer himself.