Pitigliano is a fabulous tufaceous village in the Grosseto Maremma, so beautiful and particular that it was awarded in the club of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Dug into the volcanic rock, the beautiful Pitigliano captivates from the first glance for its elegance and refinement. The city is also known by the name of little Jerusalem by virtue of its intense relationship with the Jewish community that for years populated the ghetto.
Pitigliano has Etruscan origins, as evidenced by the countless archaeological sites scattered throughout its territory, includingstanding out vie Cave di Pitigliano, true uniqueness of this area, ancient and enigmatic roads carved into the rock, which branch out into several paths that connect the whole area of Pitigliano with that of the two tuff city Sovana and Sorano.
Inside the historic center of Pitigliano there are numerous monuments, churches and museums that express all the historical beauty of this village. The symbol par excellence of the city is the Orsini fortress, aancient residence of the noble family that reigned over Pitigliano for centuries. The structure looks like a majestic fortified palace, built by the Aldobrandeschi and then subsequently enlarged by the Orsini in the 15th century and transformed in the 16th century on project by Antonio di Sangallo the Younger according to the canons of the Renaissance style. The fortress currently hosts various exhibitions: the Museum of Sacred Diocesan Art, the Civic Archaeological Museum and the collection of Palazzo Orsini, which together with the library and the historical archive, represent the Pitiglianese museum complex. Not far from the building on the central square of Pitigliano is there‘Medici aqueduct. An imposing structure built by the Medici family of Florence between 1636 and 1639. An exceptional engineering work of rare beauty.
Continuing in the historic center made up of dozens of alleys, lanes and squares we find the ancient Jewish ghetto. The city is in fact also renamed Little Jerusalem and has distinguished itself over the centuries for its hospitality towards the Jewish community. Since 1500 Pitigliano led by the Orsini has welcomed Jews from all over Italy and with the advent of the Medici family the ghetto was born. This community played a crucial role in the economic development of Pitigliano, but at the same time it was a source of conflict and discussion for many of the local rulers. An important historical fact to remember is the battle against the French troops in 1799, which saw Jews and Christians go into battle together, for the first time in history, who managed to prevent the sacking of the ghetto. In 1800 the link between Pitigliano and the Jewish community was officially consecrated. The city went down in history for defending the inhabitants of the ghetto during the period of racial laws. Many lives were saved from certain death thanks to the courage of the Pitigliano population who defended many Jews from round-ups and deportation. The influence of the Jewish community on the country lives again thanks to the association La Piccola Gerusalemme
and it is now possible to visit Jewish monuments such as the Synagogue, the oven of unleavened bread, the ritual bath and the Jewish museum. In addition, kosher wine is produced at the Cantina Cooperativa di Pitigliano, and the Jewish cemetery is located outside the town.
Among the other important buildings in the historic center, two churches should be mentioned. The first is the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul which is located in the heart of the town, in the square dedicated to Pope Gregory VII. The other church is that of Santa Maria or of San Rocco probably the oldest church in Pitigliano.
Not to be missed is the panoramic view of the historic city center from the lookout of the Madonna delle Grazie, arriving in Pitigliano from the S.S. Maremmana 74. Those who pass by here can not help but stop and take a picture. Another very nice vantage point to admire the historic center is the terrace of San Michel, which is located inside the town going towards the new part.
Pitigliano is also very famous for its typical products such as wine, oil and sweets (“the Jewish eviction” above all). These products can be tasted in the numerous places such as restaurants and wine bars in the town and are enhanced by the events that fill the calendar.
Among the most important are: the Torciata di San Giuseppe (19 March), Calici di Stelle (10 August), Settembre di Vino (first weekend in September) and Santi Vinai (second weekend in November).