A city of surreal charm, carved out of  tufa, also known as the ‘small Jerusalem’

Read the story of Pitigliano on logo toscana ovunque bella Pitigliano Magic and beauty in the Etruscan lands A tufa town and a “Little Jerusalem”, evidence of great history in a wonderful placeRead the story
Pitigliano seems to have been taken out of a fairytale. It appears to have grown from the stone of this wildly beautiful promontory, bounded by green valleys crossed by the Lente and Meleta rivers. The high walls of volcanic tufa, carved out by a thousand caverns, project a series of tower-houses, thus heightening the picturesque feel of this medieval town. The houses, constructed on a tuffaceous drum, repeat the vertical lines of the cliffs, making the enclosing walls almost superfluous, although the defensive structures, such as the 14th century Orsini Palace, are the most imposing. The town still holds the treasures of its ancient past, the centuries of succeeding civilizations and their cultures: the Rinaldian eneolithic period; the Etruscan tombs discovered in the surrounding territory or along the city walls; the Roman origin of the antique Gens Petilia; the Medieval Aldobandeschi family that ruled the Maremma for almost half a millennium; the noble Orsini family in the Renaissance, followed briefly by the Sienese, then the Medici, and their heirs, the Lorraine who initiated a notable urban development and stimulated an important phase of modernization.
This illustrious past becomes present while walking the old streets, admiring the ancient houses and visiting the famous Jewish ghetto. The large and active Jewish community, dating back from the 15th century, has prompted the name “Little Jerusalem” for this splendid village. After important works of restoration, the Synagogue is again open for worship. The Synagogue, the Hebrew cemetery, the kosher oven where unleavened bread was baked, the cellar carved in the rock where kosher wine was produced, the kosher butcher shop, the baths for the purification of the women and the cleaners are all open to the public. The richness of the past has been handed down in wine production, as well. The vineyards, fertilized by volcanic tufa and millennium-old humus, produce one of the most highly regarded white wines in Italy, one of the first wines to receive the recognition of DOC. Several of the grottos and Etruscan tombs carved into the rock are used as cellars for ageing and preserving these wines.

The same respect for tradition holds true in the production of the extraordinary, cold-pressed olive oil, which when combined with the wine, make the culinary dishes of Pitigliano even more delicious. In addition to the various food-and-wine events offered, the “Torciata di San Giuseppe” is held every year on the 19th of March. In the evening, a group of men dressed in habits, carry bundles of lighted reeds on their shoulders from Via Cava to the town square. There, the reeds and a puppet representing the “Harsh Winter” are burned, creating a spell-binding effect. The “Petilia Festival” takes place every year during the last week of August. It is the perfect mix of music, wine and food with the charm of the village as its setting. The interesting “International Documentary Film Festival” is organized during the first week of December.

Source: APT Maremma

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