Dante in the XII canto of his Paradise mentions Saint Bonaventure (his real name was Giovanni di Fidanza) born in Civita in 1221. The legend tells that young Giovanni met St.Francis in the so called "Cave of Saint Bonaventure" where he was cured from a deadly illness and so took the vows of the Francescan order shortly in 1238. In 1254 he became the master in charge at the Sorbonne in Paris, but the very next year the representatives of mendicant orders (Domenican and Francescan) were excluded from the teaching in the French university. Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas were the leaders of the opposition to this decision obtaining the cancellation by Pope Alexander IV. In 1257 he became General Mininster of the Francescan order (the seventh after Saint Francis), reorganising the entire order. In 1273 he was appointed Archibishp of Albano and Cardinal. He died in 1274. A church dedicated to Saint Bonaventure was built in Civita in 1525 where there was his house. The church was destroyed by the landsides and in 1810 it was abandoned. Today the only reminder of its existence is the little tabernacle along the pathway that runs parellel to the southern border of the cliff.



This painting, made by Francesco Ciacci for the local confraternity, shows a rare picture of St. Bonaventure who protects the town of Civita (below) depicted before the big earthquake in 1695.