Pitigliano is one the most beautiful villages in Italy, fourth in the 2015 edition of “The Most beautiful villages in Italy“. Although lacking a true monument that remains in the memory of the visitor, Pitigliano is an enchanted place, out of time, literally lying on a mountain of tuff.
It has very ancient origins (probably antecedent to the Etruscan civilization), today Pitigliano, in addition to its characteristic beauty, is famous for the presence of an important Jewish community that, in the XIX century, represented almost a quarter of the entire population, so as to deserve the nickname of “little Jerusalem“. In the following years, the racial laws of 1938 led to the escape of a considerable part of the Jewish community that today represents only a small citizen minority.
The testimonies of the Jewish community are still visible today walking through the alleys of the village, where local small craft shops alternate with restaurants and bars of Jewish tradition.
The visit of the village
The visit of Pitigliano starts from Piazza Petruccioli that you can reach through the panoramic Via Cavour and a characteristic door. In a few steps you admire the central Piazza della Repubblica with the Archaeological Civic Museum and the Fountain of the Seven Cinnamons.
Then going along Via Roma you reach the Cathedral, dedicated to the Saints Peter and Paul.
Along Via Roma it is possible to see a succession of really characteristic alleys, to be covered and discovered without any precise destination.
The most interesting part of the village is probably the ghetto where it is also possible to visit the Jewish Museum.
The museum includes an interesting cellar, where the red wine and the white Kasher of Pitigliano are prepared, the ritual bath (now no longer perfectly identifiable), an exhibition of Jewish traditional objects, the Kasher slaughterhouse, the unleavened oven, the dry cleaner.
The most interesting part of the itinerary is the Synagogue, built at the end of the 16th century. Today it is rarely used (especially for the celebration of weddings) due to the lack of the Minian (i.e. the presence of at least 10 men), necessary for the celebration.
Where to eat
Pitigliano is a town with a strong tourist vocation and has numerous restaurants of excellent quality. I tried “La Locanda del Pozzo antico“, a good restaurant although a bit expensive (click here for my review on Tripadvisor). For the great Jewish tradition of the town, it is possible to opt for restaurants with a Kosher menu.
I suggest a visit to the nearby thermal bath of Saturnia (just over 20 km, half an hour by car). At the Cascate del Mulino (literaly, the waterfalls of the mill) it is possible to dive enjoying the 37-degree sulfur waters. They are free.