A Jewish Ghetto at the Heart of a Tuscan Medieval Gem – September 18th, 2021
Let’s head to the tip of southwestern Tuscany, to Pitigliano in the Maremma area, perched on a volcanic rock plateau.
Meandering together the medieval alleyways, you’ll know that this is the kind of town where you hope to get lost. Inhabited in prehistory, the Etruscans, too, settled on this easily-defended tufaceous rock outcrop and then the Romans and the Lombards. In the Middle Ages, the Orsini counts took power.
We’ll tour their imposing palace flanked by the grandiose aqueduct, of the Medici Grand Dukes.
The highlight of our Pitigliano explorations?
The oldest Jewish quarter in Tuscany, chosen refuge for many Jews after a Papal decree in the 16th-century exiled them from the Papal States.
Many escaped to Pitigliano, enjoying more rights in culture, politics and economics than almost anywhere else in central Italy. By the end of the 19th-century, Pitigliano was affectionately called “Little Jerusalem.”Pitigliano’s Jewish heritage is preserved thanks to la Piccola Gerusalemme, an association bringing alive the town’s 17th-century Jewish ghetto. We’ll visit here the synagogue, the Museo Ebraico and the kosher bread oven, wine cellar and slaughterhouse.
We’’ll end our tour with a taste of a local culinary specialty, a sweet called “sfratti,” meaning “eviction”
…..and why is the local sweet called “an eviction”?
Join my talk to find out why.