Discovering Pitigliano: the most famous Città del Tufo is best discovered with a glass of white wine, a Jewish sweetmeat and a dip in the thermal baths.
Nestling on a spur of tufa rock, Pitigliano is one of Tuscany’s most enchanting villages whose medieval atmosphere still pervades the streets and alleyways. The area was home to ancient civilisations such as the Etruscans, as testified by the many archaeological findings in the area.
On the border with Lazio, Pitigliano is located in the splendid wilderness of Grosseto’s Maremma area; more precisely in the Area del Tufo, so-called because this pyroclastic rock is very commonly found and vastly used as a building material. Together with Sorano [link Sorano] and Sovana [link Sovana] it makes up the famous Città del Tufo.
Listed as one of the Borghi più Belli d’Italia (Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages) and Bandiera Arancione, Pitigliano, Grosseto, historically was owned by the Aldobrandeschi family, passing subsequently to the Conti Orsini: powerful families whose medieval and Renaissance-time legacy can be easily seen and appreciated during a pleasant walk along the streets and alleyways of the village.
Its history can be felt in the imposing walls that surround the historical centre and the gates, built on commission by the Aldobrandeschi family while the Orsini legacy can be seen in the Fontana delle Sette Cannelle fountain, the Medici aqueduct and Palazzo Orsini, home to the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art and the Town Archaeological Museum.
There are many buildings of religious or artistic interest, such as the Duomo di Pitigliano, the Cathedral of Santi Pietro e Paolo, the Church of San Rocco – the oldest in the village – and the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie which, standing just outside the village, offers a beautiful view of Pitigliano.
Having crossed one of the ancient thresholds to the village, you are pervaded by a unique atmosphere enhanced by the elegant restaurants with traditional, genuine foods alternating with boutiques and shops selling handicrafts and typical products; of the latter it is worth mentioning the much-appreciated Pitigliano white wine, the Migliaccio and the Jewish sweetmeat Sfratto dei Goym.
The Jewish culture is an integral part of Pitigliano’s heritage: a characteristic that, together with its medieval aspect, has earnt the village its nickname of “Little Jerusalem”. The Jewish community settled here in the 16th century under the protection of the Orsini family and today its cultural and social influence can be seen in the ghetto which is home to the Pitigliano Synagogue, the Passover matzoh bakery, ritual baths, kosher butcher, cellar (where wine is produced following kosher rules) and, just outside the village, the cemetery.
Just outside the historical centre you can also find the open-air Alberto Manzi Archaeological Museum, a didactic route set up to valorise the historical, archaeological and environmental heritage of Pitigliano: in two separate areas you can visit the ancient Etruscan city, necropolis and carved channels.
Having immersed yourself in the history and sampled some of the most typical flavours, it is time for another type of well-being. This area is already famous for the Terme di Saturnia , but it is also home to the beneficial springs of the Terme di Pitigliano: the perfect way to end the perfect day discovering Pitigliano in Tuscany, and completely relax the senses.
What to see in Pitigliano, Tuscany:
- The medieval historical centre with its alleyways, shops and restaurants.
- Palazzo Orsini, the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art and the Town Archaeological Museum.
- The Cathedral of Santi Pietro e Paolo.
- The Jewish ghetto and cemetery.
- The open-air Alberto Manzi Archaeological Museum.
- Pitigliano Springs.