Pitigliano is a town rich in history, culture and natural beauty that deserves to be explored. It offers a unique and authentic experience for visitors to Tuscany and is an ideal destination for those seeking an escape from the monotonous daily routine of big cities.
Located in southern Tuscany, it is a fascinating city also known as the City of Tufa. Its history dates back over 2000 years, when it was founded as an Etruscan city; it was subsequently controlled by various powers, including the Romans, the Lombards and later the Sienese. The city is famous for its houses carved out of tufa rock, a rock composed mostly of volcanic material that gives the urban centre a unique and evocative appearance. The town is home to the Jewish ghetto of Pitigliano, one of the oldest and most well-preserved in Italy. It was founded in the 16th century and was home to one of the most flourishing Jewish communities in Italy for many centuries. Today, the Jewish ghetto is a testament to Pitigliano’s past, with several synagogues, restored houses and shops attracting tourists from all over the world.
As a town rich in history and culture, it offers many monuments and places of interest to visit, some of the most important of which are:
– The Open-air Theatre, located in the heart of the old town, is a great place to see performances, concerts and events during the summer season.
– The Jewish Synagogue located in the Jewish ghetto of Pitigliano, the Synagogue is an important historical monument dating back to the 17th century.
– The Palazzo Orsini, located in the historic centre of Pitigliano, an ancient Renaissance palace that now houses an exhibition of contemporary art.
– The Church of Santa Maria, located in the historic centre of Pitigliano, is an imposing Renaissance church with a Baroque façade.
– The Archaeological Museum, located near the historical centre, houses a collection of Etruscan and Roman artefacts, including ceramics, coins and sculptures. The museum offers a unique window into the history of the town and its ancient cultures that can send us back in time.
– The Pitigliano Caves Located a short distance from the town, these caves are a series of natural grottos that have been carved into the limestone rock and offer a fascinating insight into the geological history of the area.
In addition to its unique history and architecture, Pitigliano is also famous for its cuisine. Traditional cuisine influenced by the Jewish and peasant traditions of Tuscany is based on fresh and simple local ingredients such as vegetables, meat and cheese.
Many of the typical dishes are based on game, with polenta and vegetables. In addition, fresh pasta such as pici, tortelli and pappardelle is popular in the local cuisine, and these dishes are accompanied by the typical meat sauce with wild boar meat.
In addition, Pitigliano is known for its production of fine wines, such as Morellino di Scansano and Bianco di Pitigliano, which accompany the decisive flavours of this cuisine, both of which are very renowned products of unique quality, governed by strict guidelines.
A unique confectionery product is ‘sfratto’ (eviction), a typical sweet from Pitigliano that has an interesting history and is linked to the town’s Jewish culture. The word ‘sfratto’ means eviction in Italian and the cake took its name from the Jewish tradition of preparing this cake for eviction occasions, i.e. when a Jewish family had to leave their home during World War II. It is a cake with a unique and intense flavour, which combines the sweetness of honey with the crunchiness of dried fruit. It is a culinary experience that cannot be missed during a visit to Pitigliano.
It is prepared with honey, dried fruit, chopped walnuts and almonds, and served as a symbol of prosperity and good fortune for the relocating family. This cake has a very strong meaning for the Jewish community of Pitigliano and is an important part of their culture and culinary tradition.
Today, the ‘evratto’ is still very popular in Pitigliano and is prepared for many festive occasions, no longer for evictions.
A visit to Pitigliano would not be complete without a walk along the paths through the surrounding hills. These paths offer spectacular views of the town and the surrounding countryside, and are a great way to discover the varied natural beauty of the area.
Throughout the year, Pitigliano also hosts numerous events and festivals celebrating its history and culture. For instance, the ‘Fiera del Tufo’ is a festival held every year in June that celebrates the town’s craft tradition, a tradition as old as the town itself. The ‘Jewish Festival’ is also an important event to rediscover Jewish history and culture.
Pitigliano is an excellent starting point for exploring the rest of Tuscany. The town is a short distance from other important cities such as Grosseto and Siena, and also from the famous Maremma beaches Cala Violina, Cala Civette, the Alberese beaches and many others.
As far as places to stay are concerned, Pitigliano offers a wide choice of options, from holiday homes to more luxurious accommodations. Some of the most recommended establishments are Tufoletto and the Casa dell’Oliveto, a renovated old farmhouse that offers an authentic and cosy atmosphere.As for places to eat, Pitigliano offers a variety of restaurants serving typical Tuscan and Jewish cuisine. Ristorante Il Grillo is one of the most renowned restaurants in town and offers a selection of traditional dishes prepared with high-quality local ingredients. Ristorante Il Kosher, located in the Jewish Ghetto, also offers a selection of Jewish and Tuscan dishes and is a unique dining experience.
In addition, the Pitigliano area is an ideal destination for hunting enthusiasts seeking an unforgettable experience immersed in Tuscan nature. It includes a hilly area with a wide range of natural landscapes, including forests, fields and rivers, making it an excellent destination for hunting, a popular activity in the area that attracts hunters from all over Italy.
There are many wild species present in the area, including wild boar, roe deer, pheasants, wood pigeons and thrushes, and hunting these species is usually done with rifles and the use of hunting dogs. However, it is important to comply with local hunting laws and regulations and ensure that you have the right authorisations and licences.
Blog by Passione Toscana