The continued existence of the Jewish community in Italy was in Pitigliano, were the wandering jews, escaped from the oppression of the Roman church and Florence regime, finally found a safe place to stay.
Sovana, Sorano and Pitigliano, did not disappointed them. Today’s visitors who seek the charm of historic castles and Romanesque churches, walking on the paved streets and in the maze of narrow alleys, come across small symbols to Jewish life in Pitigliano, hidden and almost forgotten: synagogues, kosher food, cemeteries.
The three countries, of the “Valle del Fiora” (Fiora valley) took, since 1600, an important part in the survival of the Jewish community in Italy. It was here were the wandering Jews, found a safe place to stay, under the dominion of the Orsini’s. Sovana, Sorano and Pitigliano , became cities of shelter and Jewish settlements.
Thanks to the small states and the courage of local lords which protected them, the Jewish community managed to survive
Today there are traces of the presence which centuries ago were a living Jewish communities. Even today there are testimonials to Jewish life in Sorano, where is still visible the Jewish quarter of the ghetto, and the location of the synagogue.
In the Sovana town you come across the “vicus Judeorum”. This was the place where Jewish families organized their small businesses, for the sale of “pannina”.
It was Piglio in mid 1600, with the increased presence of Jews in Pitigliano who proclaim Pitigliano as “Little Jerusalem”. In 1841 in the town were 3,125 inhabitants, of whom 359 were Jews. The library of the country had 2,032 volumes, of which 600 in Hebrew. Tolerance and mutual respect mark the history of this small country, which was capable of heroic acts during the Napoleonic occupation and the fascism periods.
The synagogue, in the Manin alley, which is located in the Jewish quarter known as “the ghetto”. And these are the vestments, the chandeliers with the written Bible, the inscriptions on the occasion of special events, a gallery for women. Moreover little remains of the ghetto: the ritual bath in the temple, and dug into the rock, the oven of Unleavened Bread, which was prepared the bread for the day of celebration and the Kosher butcher. And, just outside the walls of the town, on the road to Manciano, the ancient cemetery.
A visit to these places is also the ideal opportunity to taste the excellent kosher “Bianco di Pitigliano” wine, made from grapes of Trebbiano toscano, Greek, Tuscan white “Malvasia” and “Verdelho, according to the old tradition of centuries.
Jewish culinary traditions are now exquisitely became habits of the inhabitants of Pitigliano: soups, especially the one of beans, the “acquacotta” and “Buglione” based on lamb, and some desserts.
Please note that the synagogue of Pitigliano is open for visits in the morning from 10.00 to 12.30 and in the afternoon from 15.00 to 17.30 (winter) or from 16.00 to 19.00 (summer hours). It is closed on Monday, while on Saturdays and days of other Jewish holidays is open only for worship. To book tours or for information you can call this number: 0564/616006