Pitigliano municipality: PIAZZA DANTE ALIGHIERI N° 1 - Grosseto - Toscana -
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is an Italian town and comune of Grosseto province in the Maremma area of Tuscany
, at 313 m above sea‑level, with 4200 inhabitants according to the 2000 census. The town itself is a striking sight, standing on an abrupt tufa butte high above the Olpeta, the Fiora and the Lente rivers; its history and monuments are no less striking.History
Although it is clear that Pitigliano
and its area were inhabited in Etruscan times, the first extant written mention of Pitigliano dates only to 1061. In the early 13th century it belonged to the Aldobrandeschi family, and by the middle of the century it had become the capital of the surrounding county.
In 1293 the county passed to the Orsini family, which signaled the start of a hundred and fifty years of on-again, off-again wars with Siena, at the end of which, in 1455, a compromise of sorts was reached: Siena acknowledged that Pitigliano was a county, Pitigliano placed herself under the suzerainty of Siena. From thence onwards, the history of Pitigliano resorbs into the gradually wider ambit first of the Grand-Duchy of Tuscany (1562), then of the united Kingdom of Italy.Monuments and sights
The sights of Pitgliano fall into three distinct groups: Etruscan, medieval and Renaissance, and those associated with its Jewish population.Etruscan remains
The single most striking set of sights is a series of artificial cuts, wide enough for one or two pedestrians abreast, but only occasionally wide enough for a vehicle, cut into the tufa rock to varying depths ranging from a few feet to over 10 meters. At the bottom of these cuts the visitor often finds carved channels, apparently for water, although some take the form of steps. The purpose of the cuts is not known: the three main theories are that they were roads, quarries, or water conveyance schemes; they radiate outward from the base of the butte of Pitigliano, down to the rivers then back to the top of the plateau that surrounds the town. A few very brief Etruscan inscriptions are said to have been found on the walls of the cuts, but are ill documented.Medieval and Renaissance monuments
Pitigliano was once the seat of a bishop, and thus its principal church, SS. Pietro e Paolo, is a Duomo. A second old church, S. Maria, may also be seen; but the main monuments in the historic district of town are resolutely civil: the Fortezza Orsini, which achieved its present state in 1545 but represents a reworking of the earlier medieval fortress; the town's walls and gates, the best of which is the Porta Sovana; and the remains of a tall and very visible aqueduct at the very top of the butte.Synagogue
For several hundred years Pitigliano was a frontier town at the very edge of the realms of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany; just south of it lay the Papal States. For this reason, the town was home to a flourishing and long-lived Jewish community; though there are almost no Jews left in town, not enough to provide a minyan, the beautiful synagogue (1598, with furnishings of the 17th and 18th centuries) remains officiated from time to time, and was very well restored in 1995.The "Tempietto"
Fitting in no clear category, a curious small cave, probably of natural origin but considerably reworked by human hands, lies a few hundred meters outside the central district, yet far above the Lente valley. Its purpose and builders remain unknown: locally it passes as a "paleochristian tempietto", but all that can be confidently stated is that it must date to Late Antiquity or the early Middle Ages, although it may replace an Etruscan or Roman arcosolium