Pitigliano Italy view from the main road
Italy destination guides

Pitigliano, Italy: the ‘little Jerusalem’ of Tuscany you will love

All you need to know to visit Pitigliano, Italy, a unique small town in Southern Tuscany with an incredible hilltop position that defies belief.

Pitgliano is a vision. You get a first glimpse of the town as you turn a corner along the main driving road into town, and you eyes need a minute to process what they see.

In front if you, a rocky hill of brown tufa rock shoots towards the sky crowned by houses of the same color, emerging from its soil.

It is the town of Pitigliano, a village so linked to the rock it dominates, it looks suspended between the earth and the sky!

Pitigliano is not entirely unique in its geography, the nearby towns of Sorano and Sovana are also on tufa rocks, however, Pitigliano stands out for its important history and for a special link to the Jewish community, that earned it the name of ‘Little Jerusalem’

This is all you need to know to visit Pitigliano, one of Tuscany’s most beautiful villages.

What to see in Pitigliano

Pitigliano is a small town with some beautiful sights and stunning views over the countryside.

The whole village can easily be visited in a couple of hours and while it has some specific sights that are worth seeing, it is one of those places whose real special gift is to make you feel like you are walking back into a faraway past, with history all around you.

The town is in an area already inhabited in Etruscan times however, the town as we see it now mostly took shape during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, with some later additions.

The main things to see here are the following.

Catch a view of Pitigliano’s unique skyline

Pitigliano is a lovely village with an interesting history however, what stands out about it for most visitors is its incredible position and connection with the land around it and its unique skyline.

This area is characterized by a special type of rock called tufo, easy to work and great for construction.

The rock here takes the shape of tall hills and Pitigliano lies just on top of one of them, as if emerging from the belly of the mountain itself!

The view of the town is spectacular and, at the start, almost too alien to fully take in!

You will catch this view from the car, while driving along the main road into the village or stopping at the nearby Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie.

Marvel at the Medici’s aqueducts and the Fountana delle Sette Cannelle

As soon as you enter Pitigliano your eyes will be drawn towards tall arches framing a beautiful view of the hills around Pitigliano.

These arches belong to an aqueduct wanted by the Medici family in the 1600s and it was the first aqueduct ever built in this part of Tuscany.

The aqueduct is incorporated into the walls of the town and leads to the Fontana delle Sette Cannelle (Fountain of the 7 spouts), a large fountain on the main Pitigliano square and one of the towns most iconic constructions.

Visit the Jewish Quarter and the ‘Little Jerusalem’

The history of Pitigliano is strictly linked to that of the Jewish community that found in this town a safe home when forced to leave the Papal territories just South of this area (1555-1569).

In 1598 the Pitigliano Synagogue was built and later a whole Jewish quarter developed around it, giving the town the name of Little Jerusalem.

The Synagogue is still in use today and has attached a museum that makes possible to visit the ancient shops of the area such as the Butcher Shop, the Cellar, the Ritual Bath and the ‘Forno delle Azzime’ bakery.

The area is beautiful to visit and a great place to learn about the area, the community and its important history.

Pitigliano’s delightful alleys, churches and palazzi

Pitigliano has many beautiful small alleys and one of the best thing to do here is to allow yourself the time to wander and slowly savor the village pretty corners.

Pitigliano square

As you do so, you will find yourself in a maze of small streets, narrow staircase, ancient homes and you will also come across a couple of churches, both worth seeing.

The first is the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul is the most important in town and while originally from the XIII century, it has been remodeled several times and now has a Baroque look.

The other one is the Church of San Rocco, the oldest in the village.

You will recognize it because of its beautiful plain stone facade and it is worth visiting inside to see the frescoes depicting the crest of the important families to Pitigliano, including the easily recognize Medici crest, with the spheres.

Last but not least, make sure you also notice beautiful Palazzo Orsini: this is the palazzo that dominates the main square of Pitigliano and is now home to the Diocesan Museum and the local archaeological museum.

Practical tips for visiting Pitigliano

Pitigliano is in Maremma, Southern Tuscany, close to the border with Lazio.

It is easily visited from Rome, only a couple of hours farther South and it can be easily combined with a stop in the thermal springs of Saturnia, also nearby.

Orvieto is only an hour away and so is Civita di Bagnoregio, another town with a peculiar hilltop location and history.

Pitigliano old town center is closed to cars but on-steet parking is available immediately outside the town, along the main road and in and out of the village. Make sure you have coins for the parking machines as fines are steep!

I hope you enjoyed this brief overview of the best things to see in Pitigliano and it inspired you to visit. Safe travel planning!

Comments Off on Pitigliano, Italy: the ‘little Jerusalem’ of Tuscany you will love

Marta Correale is an Italian mama of two. Born and raised in Rome, Marta has a passion for travel and especially enjoys showing off Italy to her kids, who are growing up to love it as much as she does! A classics graduate, teacher of Italian as a second language and family travel blogger, Marta launched Mama Loves Italy as a way to inspire, support and help curious visitors to make the most of a trip to Italy and learn about Italian culture on the way.