Pitigliano historical settlement is set into a rock face on top of a hill. We do not know its exact origins, however legends offer us some clues. A popular tale recounts that the friends Petilio and Celiano founded the city in Etruscan times. After stealing the Golden Crown from the Temple of Giove Stator Temple in Rome, they found Pitigliano, fell in love with it and went on to found a city. Unfortunately, the legend is probably not true. In fact, historians believe that the settlement is likely to have originated well before the Etruscan civilization!
Pitigliano first appeared in written document in 1061, and in 1293 it fell to the Orsinis. This in turn sparked around 150 years of stop-and-start war with Siena. Eventually, Pitigliano ceded to the sovereignty of Siena. It then became part of Tuscany, and ultimately the united Kingdom of Italy.
Rather than one singular and breathtaking monument, Pitigliano is enchanting in its whole context. Its houses blend in with the rocks, and you can find history at every corner. Here you will find many medieval and renaissance monuments. For example the Orsini fortress, the former Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the town’s walls, and the Porta Sovana. Moreover, you can wander through the old Jewish community and synagogue. Partly because of its location, Jews have often sought refuge in Pitigliano over the years. For example, both the counterreformation and the nazi-influenced racial laws forced Jewish populations to find such isolated shelters.
Other than its beautiful historic remains, Pitigliano historical settlement also offers artisanal boutiques, and quaint streets that fill with the smells of chimneys and wood. Depending on the season, you can also enjoy the Torciata di San Giuseppe (March), antique and artisan markets (August-September), and wine festivals (September).
You can access the Pitigliano historical settlement by bus, taking the roundtrip offered from Siena. Alternatively, you can take the train to Grossetto, Orbetello, or Viterbo Porta Fiorentina and then catch a bus to Pitigliano. Another option would be to take the car, however it should be noted that only very small modes of transport are able to move within Pitigliano, due to its tiny streets!