From Crumbling Hamlet to Artist House: Airbnb Helps to Revitalize Ancient Village of Civita, Italy

Until recently, Civita di Bagnoregio was a crumbling hamlet with a population of ten. Now it’s home to the first public building in Italy to be listed on Airbnb through a unique partnership aimed at revitalizing the village’s artistic heritage.

Dating to the 13th century, Civita di Bagnoregio is an Italian Borghi, small hamlets, relatively untouched by modern consumerism, characterized by their gastronomic and artistic heritage, and traditional rhythms that transcend centuries.

Teetering on a mountaintop in Central Italy, Civita di Bagnoregio is accessible only by a 70-meter high suspension bridge. Yet the hamlet draws intrepid travelers for its dramatic panoramas, ancient architecture and ethereal topography.

Once part of a medieval citadel, Casa Greco fell into disrepair following a major earthquake in the 1980s. Now, in collaboration with the Mayor of Civita, Airbnb has completed restoration of the house as part of a broader initiative by the Italian tourist board to support and champion the country’s borghi.

The Casa Greco restoration, dubbed The Artist House, is a striking architectural and artistic achievement that fuses history with modernity while preserving the building’s ancient heritage.

Airbnb joined forces with the Italian curator Federica Sala, who chose Francesco Simeti, a renowned artist celebrated for his immersive installations, and DWA Design Studio, an architectural firm based in Milan, for the project. Over 6 months the team worked to painstakingly restore the house and make it available to visitors, with all booking proceeds given back to the village to support its ongoing restoration.

Geology and history are intertwined in this place. The clay formations surrounding the cliff are very lunar: There’s a moonscape, and it is quite extreme.

Francesco Simeti, artist

Called Plunged into Gullies, Entangled in Orchids, Simeti’s bespoke installation symbolizes the cultural heritage of the village with a mixture of ceramic, bronze and paper.

The installation includes three bronze sculptures and a Renaissance-inspired tapestry that doubles as an artistic centerpiece and a functioning curtain for the house’s main room. Noting the orchids sprouting spontaneously from the rocky hillside, Simeti fused Italian Renaissance landscapes with intricate illustrations to create an abstract, fictitious mountain scene imposed on lush velvet.

The interior design, led by Alberto Artesani and Frederik De Wachter of DWA Design Studio, blends ancient traditional materials such as ancient stone with modern furnishings. The blues, greens, grays and soft browns mirror the abundant nature and lunar landscape surrounding the house.

For Airbnb, the restoration project is an opportunity to support rural towns while preserving and celebrating centuries of cultural heritage.

This project is an incredible extension of our commitment to supporting rural villages around the world. Our aim is to celebrate the heritage of these areas through art and design, while providing concrete ways for the towns to sustain their cultures and traditions.

Joe Gebbia, Airbnb co-founder and Chief Product Officer

Hosted by the Mayor of Civita, the one-bedroom house is available to book now and can accommodate up to five people. Booking proceeds from Civita will be donated back to the town, helping them launch  new cultural projects to benefit the community. Professional artists may be eligible for a special discounted rate. For more detail, check out the full House of Art listing.

Download assets from this post and  the press release.