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.


Address Piazza Municipio
  87010 Civita (CS)
Phone number +39 0981 73012 - 73278 - 781077
Fax +39 0981 73039


The area of the Raganello Canyons is the destination of many canyoning and rafting enthusiasts. They can chose among different types of excursion with different difficulty degrees:  classical trekking paths and tracks, free climbing or rafting.

The Gole (canyons) cross the mountain and offer different landscapes and obstacles. Cliffs and vertical walls created by water action, stone stairs and climbing walls, extremely narrow passages and icy water, as well as views, light beams and changing colors, natural sculptures;  all these elements express the beauty and power of the Nature.

Civita is located in the Natural Reserve Gole del Raganello, a protected area established in 1987 that covers 1600 ha in the Pollino Park.

It is a Special Protection Area for the safeguard of a number of animal species.

Vegetation and fauna in the natural Reserve is typical of the National Pollino Park: Loricate pines, hawthorns, wild pear trees, boars, martens, golden eagles, common ravens and eagle-owls. The “Gole del Raganello” form a canyon 17 km long that goes from the Lamia Spring to an area near the Devil’s bridge, where the Raganello stream flows more regularly.

Civita is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Its alleyways and squares intersect with each other. This type of urban structure is called in the arbëreshë language gjitonia that means “neighborhood”.

The gjitonia, a delimited group of houses overlooking a small square, is a shared physical space at the basis of social organization.  A place where people talk, hand down traditions, exchange goods. 

Very peculiar chimneys have been built on the village houses since the end of the 19th century. They have bizarre and odd shapes and became with time real works of art.  This weird chimneys, often larger than usual,  had a symbolic function. Popular superstition believed that they could shoo evil spirits, and their diversity was probably due to the owner’s status.

There are also “talking houses” in the village, small dwellings that have eyes (windows), mouths (doors) and noses (chimneys).

The Church of Santa Maria Assunta has an Oriental plan: it is oriented to the East and has the symbols and shapes characteristic of the Byzantine Theology. The charming and interesting building keeps frescoes, a square altar, splendid mosaics and icons and a beautiful iconostasis. Religious functions are celebrated in Albanian, according to the Greek-Byzantine rite.