Pitigliano: Charming Tuff Stone Town in Tuscany!
The picturesque town of Pitigliano in Italy is one of the absolute highlights of Tuscany. Perched on a high tuff rock, it towers majestically over the narrow green valleys of the Maremma. A special feature is the extremely picturesque townscape with brown-red stone houses built close to the rock face, which together with the enchanting landscape form a true postcard backdrop. A tour of the old town will also reveal a wealth of historic buildings and romantic squares. The main attractions in Pitigliano are the medieval stone streets, the small museums and the Jewish quarter. But also in the surrounding area, thanks to the rich heritage of the Etruscans, there are many exciting things to discover!
In this travel guide we will give you all the important tips and information about Pitigliano in Italy. We also show you beautiful pictures, the most amazing things to do and excursions, exclusive insider tips and where to stay in Pitigliano.
General Information about Pitigliano
The town of Pitigliano, with a population of about 4,000, is located in the province of Grosseto, in southern Tuscany, on a tufa rock about 300 meters high, surrounded by the deep gorges of the two rivers Lente and Meleta. In addition to these natural canyons, around the city you can also find many Etruscan cave passages, the so-called Vie Cave, carved into the stone by human hands thousands of years ago. In addition, there are numerous Etruscan necropolis excavations in the area that bear witness to this era. The most famous sight, however, is the old town of Pitigliano, perched on a high rock overlooking the countryside, where you can discover numerous interesting attractions.
The history of Pitigliano dates back 3,500 years to the Etruscan era. It was first documented in 1061. In the Middle Ages Pitigliano was ruled by the noble family of Aldobrandeschi, then from 1312 by the Orsini and from 1604 by the Medici, during which time the Jewish Ghetto was built. The so-called Little Jerusalem has been restored and the remains of a mikvah, a bakery and a kosher butchery can be visited during a walking tour through the town.
Best Things to Do in Pitigliano
A visit to the medieval town of Pitigliano is considered to be one of the best things to do in Tuscany and is therefore a highlight of every trip. During a stroll through the alleys of this picturesque old town, there is a lot to discover, but also the surroundings with the Etruscan cave paths and the necropolis are interesting and worth seeing!
Old Town Walls
The walls of the old town are one of the most stunning attractions of Pitigliano. The historical center is still surrounded by medieval walls, with historic gates, such as the beautiful Porta della Cittadella, which allow access to the center. At the lower end of the town, a few steps lead down to the Porta di Sovana, another medieval gate. Just before it, you can even see the remains of the Etruscan city walls. The old 17th century Medici aqueduct, with its round arches, is also impressive. It was the first of its kind in the Maremma.
Fontana delle Sette Cannelle
The Fontana delle Sette Cannelle fountain and its surrounding Piazza della Repubblica are among the most important monuments of Pitigliano. This beautiful ornamental fountain dates back to 1545, but was named Fontana delle Sette Cannelle only in the 18th century. Also of interest is the adjacent 16th-century Medici aqueduct, from which this historic fountain draws its water. Today, the square is home to several cozy cafés where you can enjoy the wonderful atmosphere and lively hustle and bustle.
The most important attraction in Pitigliano is the Jewish quarter. In the 16th century, Jews who were expelled elsewhere found a second home thanks to the ruling Orsini family. The coexistence of Christians and Jews was so harmonious that Pitigliano was known as Little Jerusalem. However, after the Medici took over power in the 17th century, the Jewish quarter became a ghetto, including night curfews and persecution. Today, a tour of the museum allows visitors to see the beautiful synagogue, a bakery, the laundry and the wine cellar.
Tip: Some bakeries of the city sell Sfratto dei Goym. The name of this sweet pastry refers to the forced evictions of the Jews and is a popular Christmas pastry today.
The Old Town Alleys
The car-free old town of Pitigliano is crossed by 3 alleys, the central Via Roma, the Via Vignoli in the middle and the southern Via Zuccarelli. Strolling through these medieval streets is like going back in time, the best thing is to just drift along and discover many beautiful and interesting places. Particularly picturesque are the old stone houses, built with the local red tuff, and the many plants and flowers that decorate the alleys.
Cathedral of Pitigliano
The history of the Cathedral “Santi Pietro e Paolo” goes back to the Middle Ages. Today it has a beautiful late baroque façade and is one of the most important monuments of Pitigliano. The church is also interesting from the inside, where art lovers can admire two works of Pietro Aldi. The Campanile was once a city tower in the Middle Ages and still rises over the beautiful old town.
The Palazzo Orsini is a former defensive complex built by the Aldobrandeschi family in the 12th century, which then became the property of Orsini in 1312. The latter transformed the castle complex and had the high walls gathered. Today Palazzo Orsini houses the Bishop’s see, the Museum of Religious Art and the Municipal Archaeological Museum. Paintings, sculptures, as well as goldsmith art, can be viewed in the 21 rooms.
Piazza S. Gregorio VII
Probably one of the most charming squares in Pitigliano is the picturesque Piazza S. Gregorio VII, located at the end of Via Roma and still in front of the Cathedral of Santi Pietro e Paolo. The piazza has an exceptionally beautiful atmosphere, which has made it a popular place for photographers. There are also some nice restaurants, such as the Locanda del Pozzo Antico. It is also worth visiting the small shops selling local handicrafts and wild boar specialties.
Around Pitigliano are the so-called Vie Cave, which represent a real peculiarity of the entire region. They are ancient caves, dating back to the Etruscan era, dug into the rock more than 3,000 years ago. Some of these Vie Cave are up to 20 meters deep. The purpose of these historical roads is still unclear, they could be communication and supply routes, but also mystical places of worship. Today, countless beautiful hiking trails lead through these historic sites.
Things to Do near Pitigliano
Not only is Pitigliano worth seeing, but there are also many attractions nearby. So you can go on some really recommendable excursions in the surrounding area during a trip. Here are the best highlights and destinations at a glance:
About 26 kilometers away are the famous hot sulfur springs of Saturnia. Here you can bathe in nature and enjoy the warm water of the turquoise sinter pools.
A trip to the charming Sovana, 7 km away, is recommended, a beautiful medieval village that also attracts with many Etruscan archaeological sites.
The wonderful town Sorano, about 9 km from Pitigliano, also has a wildly romantic historic center. In addition, this area offers fabulous hiking trails.
Where to Stay in Pitigliano
Pitigliano offers its visitors a small but fine range of fabulous accommodations. From well-kept wineries, agritourism with pool to vacation apartments, there is everything. Here are our recommendations for the most beautiful places to stay in Pitigliano…It’s worth a look!
- Hotel in the Old Town: The Le Camere Del Ceccottino is a cute hotel in the medieval center. Here, besides the charming location, the beautiful rooms enchant.
- Eco farm with Pool: The Agriturismo Eco-Bio Villa Vacasio amazes with its unique scenery as well as the rooms, the pool and the excellent food!
- Budget B&B: The Country House Maremma Nel Tufo is a small, pretty B&B with rooms at reasonable prices, only 2 kilometers outside Pitigliano.
- Vacation Home in the Center: The LA YUCCA is a real insider tip. Here you can stay right in the center of town and experience the magical flair of Pitigliano.
Find the best accommodation in Pitigliano:
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