Pitigliano

 

An interesting town in Tuscany, one with a long and rich history. Jews came to Pigigliano in the 15th Century and the Jewish population grew when rulings of the Catholic Church forced Jews from the Papal State.

The aristocratic family Orsini ruled this area of Tuscany, and under Orsini, the Jewish Community flourished. That, however, ended when the Medici family took over. Rights were rescinded. Jews could not long own land. A ghetto was built in 1622 in a small area around the synagogue. There were further pressures and after the unification of Italy, in 1861, most had moved to other cities.

The synagogue had been damaged in the war but restored in 1995. Although almost no Jews live in the town, the synagogue which dates to 1598 with furnishings of the 17th and 18th centuries, is officiated from time to time.

We visited Pitigliano on a cold and cloudy day. The narrow streets were dark and with the cold weather that day, the number of tourists were few. We always felt that we never saw the town at its best. Unfortunately the synagogue was closed.

Located in the province of Grosseto, about 80 kilometres south-east of the city of Grosseto, Tuscany Italy. The old town is known as the little Jerusalem, for the historical presence of a Jewish community that has always been well integrated into the social context and that has its own synagogue.

The medieval and renaissance structures that remain include the former Cathedral of Santi Pietro e Paolo and the church of Santa Maria. The Orsini Fortress, which achieved its present state in 1545.The town's walls and gates remain, with the best preserved being the Porta Sovana. There arealso the remains of a tall and very visible aqueduct at the very top of the butte.

 

Pitigliano

Pitigliano is built out on a bluff.

 

Pitigliano