Pitigliano Tuscany Travel GuidePitigliano is a stunning medieval town in the Maremma of Tuscany, dramatically perched atop a tufa ridge. Etruscan tombs dot the cliff face and valley. Pitigliano is also known as Piccola Gerusalemme, or Little Jerusalem.
- Ancient Jewish Quarter
- Picturesque Medieval Center
- Breath-taking Views of town as you approach
- Etruscan Sites of Maremma
Pitigliano Location and TransportationPitigliano is in southern Tuscany's Maremma region, a part of Tuscany that sees far fewer tourists than central Tuscan hill towns. It's between Rome (140km) and Florence (175km), about 48 km southeast of Grosseto (See Tuscany Map for Grosseto location) and 25 km west of Lake Bolsena in the Northern Lazio region.
There's no train station in town but buses serve Pitigliano from other cities and towns in Tuscany, including Siena, Florence, and Grosseto (served by train). The town itself is small enough to walk around easily. A car is recommended for touring the countryside, Etruscan sites, and other small towns of the Maremma.
Where to Stay and Eat in Pitigliano
Inn Etruscan House, Albergo Guastini and Bed and Breakfast Locanda il Tufo Rosa are all close to the town's entrance gate. Relais Valle Orientina is a 3-star family-run hotel in the valley about 3km from town, near thermal baths and hiking trails.
A good place to eat is Ceccottino Hostaria in the center of town. They serve Tuscan specialties and wines of the Maremma.
Pitigliano Map and Pictures
Pitigliano Tourist Information
The tourist information office is on Via Roma, just off the main square. Ask about tours of the caves and tunnels under the town.
Piccola Gerusalemme - Little Jerusalem
The Jewish Quarter of Pitigliano was settled by Jews in the 16th century when the town became a haven for Jews escaping the enclosed ghettos of cities like Siena and Florence. Even when the Jewish Quarter was enclosed in 1622, relationships still continued between Jews and non-Jews, and it was known as the liveliest Jewish ghetto in Italy. When Jews were emancipated in the mid-19th century, the ghetto population was about 500, accounting for a third of Pitigliano's population. Many of them left for cities, though, and by WWII none were left.
The parts of the ancient Jewish Quarter open to visitors includes a small museum, the restored synagogue from 1598, ritual baths, dye works, the Kosher butchering area, and bread ovens.
What to See in Pitigliano
Besides the Jewish Quarter (see above), Pitigliano is a good medieval town for wandering. Here are top things to see:
- Palazzo Orsini is a 14th century fortress near the town's entrance. It's now a museum housing artworks, Etruscan finds, and a medieval torture chamber. The 15th century walls surrounding the medieval town are part of the Orsini Fortress.
- A 16th century Aqueduct runs along the side of town and across Via Cavour.
- Chiesa di San Rocco is the oldest church in town, dating from the 12th century. During recent reconstruction, an ancient tomb was discovered.
- The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul was built during the Middle Ages and remodeled in the 16th century in Baroque style. Several good artworks are inside.
- Underground Tunnels and Caves dug into the tufa beneath the city have been in use since Etruscan times when the cliff was dotted with tombs. This underground area is sometimes open to the public on walking tours. Ask at the tourist office. There's also a Christian cave chapel dating from about 400 AD that's said to be the oldest in Italy.
- Piazza Becherini is the best place to go for views of the valleys surrounding the city.
Etruscan Tombs and Towns of the Maremma
- Etruscan Sacred Ways and Tombs dot the Maremma valleys, at least ten in the Pitigliano Valley. The Sacred pathways, called Vie Cave, sunk in the tufa are about a half kilometer long, have Etruscan and Roman markings along the high vertical sides, and are usually near a necropolis. See La Vie Cave Map and Guide
- Sorano, Sovana, and Saturnia are the three other towns with Etruscan and medieval roots in the area. Sorano has two castles, Sovana has a well-preserved medieval center, and Saturnia is one of the most ancient cities in Italy.
- Wine is produced in the Maremma and you'll see vineyards as you drive through the countryside. The area around Pitigliano produces a good white wine called Bianco di Pitigliano and Kosher wine is still produced here, too.
- Monte Argentario is a seaside gem in the Maremma, 60 km from Pitigliano. It was once an island but is now connected to the mainland by sandbars and lagoons. From here you can visit the Tuscan archipelago. Monte Argentario Travel Guide