June 11, 2018
Pitigliano is a stunning medieval town located on a mountain top in the southern tip of Grosseto province in Tuscany. The town dates to ancient Etruscan times, and has been long noted for its Jewish community. Today the town is rated as one of the most beautiful towns in Italy (a dubious distinction, given the competition).
Pitigliano is located in an area of tuff, a type of rock made of volcanic ash ejected from a vent during a volcanic eruption. Following ejection and deposition, the ash is compacted into solid rock. Tuff is a relatively soft rock, and has been used for construction since ancient times.
The modern town is first mentioned in a bull sent by Pope Nicholas II to the provost of the cathedral of Sovana in 1061, referring to the town as the place of jurisdiction of the family of the Aldobrandeschi counts.
The Orsinis ruled the Pitigliano County for centuries, defending them from the continuous attempts of subjugation by Siena and Orvieto first, and then of the Medici Florence. It was only in 1574 that Niccolò IV Orsini ceded the fortress to the Medici family, and in 1604 Pitigliano was annexed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, sold by Count Gian Antonio Orsini to settle his debts.
The Medici, however, took no interest in the fate of the city, which soon fell into decline, and only in 1737, the year in which the grand duchy passed to the Lorena, Pitigliano experienced a slow economic and cultural recovery.
(narrative excerpted from Wikipedia)