pitigliano, LITTLE JERUSALEM
Following papal bulls of 1555-1569, the Jews who lived in the territory of the Papal State were forced to abandon their homes and take refuge in the countryside. Choosing Pitigliano as their new home, they found a welcoming city where they could start their life afresh and create new businesses.
The new Jewish community felt so welcome that they soon built the town’s first sacred building for the Jewish in 1598, the Synagogue.
Later the Jewish Ghetto was created. Today this district features some of the most symbolic buildings of Jewish culture. Along with Synagogue, which is still used, there’s the Butcher Shop, the Cellar, the Ritual Bath and the Forno delle Azzime bakery, all of which have been transformed into museums.
The Jewish community perfectly integrated into the daily life of Pitigliano and in the following centuries, lived in harmony, even opening flourishing commercial activities.
During the period of German occupation, the city of Pitigliano sided strongly against deportation, many citizens risked their freedom and their life to protect their fellow Jewish citizens. Especially in the countryside, the vast network of solidarity saved many lives. On March 18, 2002, at the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem, the honour of the Righteous Among the Nations was conferred to some Pitigliano families for their heroic deeds in an attempt to save their fellow citizens.