What to know in Pitigliano?
With just over 3,700 inhabitants, Pitigliano is known as the Italian Jerusalem. The city seems to be suspended between the earth and the sky and presents itself to our eyes, from afar, in a splendid way. What to know in Pitigliano? Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams !!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”
Today I will take you for a walk in a very peculiar city: Pitigliano , in the province of Grosseto. Little known by the large mass of tourists, the city deserves prominence when we talk about the most beautiful cities in Tuscany. What to know in Pitigliano, in Tuscany?
A little about the history of Pitigliano
Pitigliano is also known as Italian Jerusalem, because from the 16th century onwards it housed a large Jewish community, and today it is one of the most fascinating Italian villages, especially for its beauty, historical and cultural heritage. Pitigliano is in the Tuff Area. The Tuff Area is located in the extreme southeast of the province of Grosseto and includes the entire municipal area of Pitigliano and Sorano ; at the edges of the cities the first signs of the Volsini Mountains develop and, there, a part of the municipality of Castell’Azzara can also be included. When we arrive in Pitigliano, we can soon understand the dimension of the beauty of this fantastic place;we can see flowered balconies, arches, staircases, noble coats of arms and impressive details ‘distributed’ in the 60 alleys that cross Pitigliano. Also read: A Charming Medieval Town in Tuscany Called Sovana
Attractions in Pitigliano in Tuscany
Pitigliano presents itself, especially to tourists, in a discreet way, but offering countless beauties. Among them, we can see the beautiful Medici aqueduct, which was built between 1636 and 1639 and consists of fifteen arches: two of them, immense, and the other thirteen, slightly smaller. Walking through the old city gate, in Petruccioli Square we enter the historic center.
Alleys, staircases and views that offer beautiful sights, make Pitigliano an almost magical place. In the historic center of Pitigliano, we notice that the city develops around 3 main streets, one almost parallel to the other. The typical products stores present themselves in a charming way and some also have access to the other Pitigliano: the underground, which is full of tunnels dug in the tuff and have served, over the centuries, as protection shelters and escape routes.Also in the historic center you will find the Jewish Ghetto, which definitely deserves a visit (we’ll see it later), as it has an important role in the city’s history.
1) What to know in Pitigliano, in Tuscany? VISIT THE ORSINI PALACE
From Petruccioli Square, you can go around the aqueduct on the left, thus reaching Orsini Palace. The palace belonged to the Counts Aldobrandeschi and was later passed on to the Orsini family in 1313. This palace is a kind of fortress and was intended to protect the only part of the village that connected with the plain; in the other three areas, the city has natural protection: large steep areas that are difficult to access.
Orsini Palace was practically rebuilt during its restructuring, in the 16th century, by Antonio da Sangallo, the Younger. Inside the Palace, today, we find the Archaeological Museum, the Palazzo Orsini Museum, the Diocesan Archive and the Library.The courtyard with a hexagonal outline deserves to be highlighted, which is very well decorated with bas-reliefs and presents us with the beautiful Orsini family coats of arms.
2) What to know in Pitigliano, in Tuscany? VISIT THE FOUNTAIN OF THE SEVEN CANNELLE
Leaving Orsini Palace, head to Fontana delle Sette Cannelle (“Fountain of the Seven Spouts”), built in 1545. There are five fountains, all decorated with images of animals made in different times and styles. Go ahead to have a magnificent panoramic view and find the bronze monument in honor of “Al Villano”, a work by Mario Vinci.
3) What to know in Pitigliano, in Tuscany? VISIT THE PITIGLIANO CATHEDRAL
From there, with a short walk, we arrive at the Cathedral of Pitigliano: in San Gregorio Square, the Cathedral dominates the scene. Dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, it present to us a beautiful façade from the 18th century, flanked by the plastered bell tower. The Tower maintains an original tufted appearance and dates from the medieval period.
4) What to know in Pitigliano, in Tuscany? VISIT THE GHETTO AND THE SYNAGOGUE OF PITIGLIANO
Now we proceed to the Jewish Ghetto and the Pitigliano Synagogue. The city of Pitigliano is also known as “Little Jerusalem”, or “Italian Jerusalem”, because in the late 1500s, Pitigliano was one of the villages welcoming Jews.
A little about the Jewish Ghetto
The Jewish Ghetto in Pitigliano was created by a Hebrew community that lived in peace with Christians, erecting its own temple in the year 1598. Some people wanted to isolate the Jews, but they soon realized the economic importance of this people for the city and, thus, they were free to start successful and prosperous businesses. In the second half of the 18th century, Lorena’s Iluminist Reform took place, and the new Grand Dukes of Tuscany allowed Jews access to public seats. Together, Jews and Christians, fought French troops who, in 1799, wanted to plunder the ghetto.
The Golden Age of the Jewish Ghetto
The golden age of the Jewish ghetto was in the 1800s, what they called the ‘golden century’; this was before the decline due to emigration and fascist racial laws, which were very strong during the period. During the war, several Jews were saved due to a kind of program to protect the local population. The most important legacy of this community is, without a doubt, the elegant Synagogue, built in 1598. Recently restored, it can be visited and is very beautiful. Inside, you can see sacred furniture dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. The highlights are Aron (Sacred Ark) and Tevà (pulpit). At the top, you can see countless chandeliers hanging from a ceiling all decorated with biblical writings, charming.The Synagogue houses several rooms with permanent exhibitions that tell Jewish history;
5) What to know in Pitigliano, in Tuscany? VISIT THE VIE CAVE DI PITIGLIANO
Moving a little further from the center, we can also visit the Vie Cave di Pitigliano , also called “tagliate” or “cavoni”. The Vie Cave are the roads dug by Etruscans directly into the tuff rock and served to connect the villages of Pitigliano, Sorano and Sovana. Some walls are up to 20 meters high and up to 1 km long, with 3 meters wide. They are somewhat dark, humid paths, so they are full of plants and moss. Walking there means taking a trip back in time and discovering a natural environment of great beauty, unique in the world! The most important roads there are Via Cava del Gradone , which leads to the homonymous necropolis, and Via Cava della Madonna delle Grazie, which is one of the most beautiful in the entire territory.
6) What to know in Pitigliano, in Tuscany? VISIT THE OPEN-AIR ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
Another interesting tour is also the Alberto Manzi Open-Air Archaeological Museum. This open-air museum was opened on July 3rd, 2004 and was named after Alberto Manzi, famous for the program “It’s never too late” (free translation), which contributed to Italian literacy in the 1960s; he was also mayor of Pitigliano from 1995 to 1997, when the museum project was presented.
More details about the museum
The path develops, for the most part, in the shade surrounded by abundant vegetation. The museum is divided between the “city of the living” and the “city of the dead”. In the first part, you will find two types of houses – on a full scale: one represents a hut from the Bronze Age, from the 12th-11th centuries BC; the other, an Etruscan hut from the Archaic Era, from the 7th to 6th centuries BC. Then, through the vegetation inside Via Cava del Gradone, we arrive at the “city of the dead”, where we will find the Gradone Necropolis, immersed in a suggestive forest.
All burials in this necropolis are from the 7th and 6th centuries BC, and are presented mainly in chamber tombs with a rectangular well on their sides. A striking distinction of these tombs is the presence of a kind of “pillow” carved in the rock. We can also visit a tomb in which the funeral of an Etruscan couple was ‘simulated’ with their funerary equipment. Continuing our tour, we find the Meleta stream, and then we reach San Giovanni, an area with tombs from the 6th century to the 3rd century BC Time to go back!
Map with the attractions in Pitigliano
Just 30 minutes from Pitigliano (by car), you can discover one of the most famous and beautiful thermal baths in Italy: Terme di Saturnia. The thermal waterfalls of Saturnia are incredible and attract visitors from all over the world, as the waters of the area were already known to the ancient Romans due to their beneficial effects on the skin. The water maintains a permanent 37 ° C, regardless of the season, and is part of the most beautiful natural pools in the world. Do you want to know more? We have a complete post on the Terme di Saturnia ( click here to learn more ) on our blog, I invite you to take a look, you will like it!
How to get to Pitigliano in Tuscany?
1) How to get to Pitigliano in Tuscany? BY AIRPLANE
The nearest airports are Roma Fiumicino, 155 km away, Florence, 237 km away, and Pisa, 241 km away. From these airports, we can reach Pitigliano by train or car.
Also read our posts about Airports in Italy:
- HOW TO GO FROM THE ROME AIRPORT TO THE CENTER OF ROME?
- HOW TO GO FROM THE MALPENSA AIRPORT TO THE CENTER OF MILANO?
- HOW TO GO FROM VENICE AIRPORT TO VENICE CENTER
2) How to get to Pitigliano in Tuscany? BY TRAIN
If you want to go by train, you can use the train stations near Pitigliano getting off at: Albinia, Orbetello, Grosseto and Viterbo, however, arriving at the stations, you will need to take a bus to Pitigliano with the Tiemme Line, or with the Cotral line. Also find out ” What is the difference between trains in Italy?”. Would you like to save? So buy your ticket online in advance and save a lot, read the Post “How to buy a train ticket in Italy?“.
3) How to get to Pitigliano in Tuscany? BY CAR
Pitigliano is in the south of Maremma, in Tuscany. In the middle of the road, it borders lands between Grosseto and Viterbo, passing near Lake Bolsena and Terme di Saturnia. Pitigliano is one of the most important centers in Città del Tufo, which is an area that also includes Sovana and Sorano. To reach Pitigliano, you can go by car, using the SS74 – which connects Orvieto and Albinia; by bus, using the excellent connections from Grosseto, Orvieto and Viterbo.
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