Civita: Legends and Superstitions

June 11, 2015 / Places
Civita, Calabria

Civita is one of the most charming villages in northern Calabria. In the 15th century, Albanian refugees fled to and settled here. Their influence can still be seen and heard today as locals still speak the Albanian language and uphold ancient traditions.

As you walk through this enchanting village, look up and see the ‘comignoli’. The Albanians built these oddly shaped chimney stacks because they believed it would ward off evil spirits.

The “comignoli” or chimney stacks.

Just outside the village you’ll find Devil’s Bridge, an ancient bridge linking the two sides of the Raganello canyon.


Legend says that after several unsuccessful attempts of building the bridge, local villagers decided to make a pact with the devil. In exchange for the devil’s help, the soul of the first person to cross the bridge would be sacrificed. However, once the bridge was erected, the villagers made an animal cross the bridge first which infuriated the devil. He kicked the bridge leaving marks that many say can still be seen today.

Devil’s Bridge

Whether you believe in legends and superstitions or not, Civita is a great little town with an impressive rich history not to mention it is also surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Raganello canyon, Plains of Sibari and the Ionian Sea.

The Raganello Canyon

What are some of your favorite small town legends or superstitions?

Image Credits: Carmen Guarascio

Cherrye Moore

by Cherrye Moore

Cherrye Moore is owner of My Bella Vita Travel, a boutique tour operator specializing in custom vacations and heritage tours in southern Italy. Join her in June or September for the Small Group Heritage Tour of Calabria – a unique small group tour that combines group travel with a private heritage tour, or in September for the Undiscovered Southern Calabria and Eastern Sicily Tour.


6 Responses to “Civita: Legends and Superstitions”

  1. Awesome story and beautiful pics. Thanks for sharing a peak into this amazing area

  2. there’s always a story! and in tuscany, the stories abound regarding these “donkey back” bridges. near borgo a mozzano – near lucca – sits the “ponte del diavolo”….and the same story accompanies it’s origin! except i have heard it was either a pig or a dog that made the trek across the bridge.
    regardless, there’s always a story!

  3. Cherrye at My Bella Vita Travel

    @Joe – Prego! Thank you for reading.

    @ Peggy – ha, good one!

    @ Davi – I know!! It’s so funny, isn’t it? They have the same story with Saint Francesco di Paola, the Patron Saint of Calabria. I believe it was a goat they sent across. No, no – it was a goat that Saint Francis brought back (his pet goat Martinello)! It was a dog they sent across THAT devil’s bridge. :-)

  4. Cherrye organized a two-week trip for us to Calabria in May 2013. The goal was ancestral research and as I am an author who sets her writing in Calabria, writing research. She took us to Civita and it was wonderful. Hoping to return to Calabria with Cherrye in the future. She is the best ever!!!


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