Pitigliano is situated in the Grosseto Province of southern Tuscany. The town is situated in a dramatic position 300 metres high above a plain, in a natural defensive position that is further enhanced by the presence of fortified walls.
A visit to Pitigliano can start from the Piazza Pietruccioli which gives access to the ancient fortified citadel, and its main square - Piazza Garibaldi. In nearby Piazza Cavour you can admire the arches of the mighty aqueduct built in the 16th century by Gian Francesco Orsini.
The great Palace of the Orsini (one time Lords of the city) can be seen in the Piazza della Repubblica. The Palace stands as a veritable fortress and is built in a variety of styles, medieval and renaissance in particular, because of the different times of its expansion and restructuring.
Hence the tower and courtyard are in a Medieval style, and contrast with a portal lavishly decorated with the emblem of the Orsini Family, in Renaissance style.
The Palace of the Orsini now houses the Civic Museum, featuring hundreds of archaeological finds from the Etruscan age, especially pottery that has been engraved, or painted in white on a red background.
Highlights include an ancient 'biconical' vase painted with geometric patterns, from the second half of the 8th century BC and once used as an urn and the “kantharos” (a cup with two handles), with braided handles from the 7th century BC.
Many items in the Civic Museum originate from excavations in the necropolis of “Poggio Buco” (about 26 graves), and are characterized by their geometric decorations.
Also in the Museum of the Orsini there are many rooms with collections of sacred objects, coins, sculptures, paintings on wood, and works by local painters Francesco Zuccarelli (1702-1788), Pietro Aldi (1852-1888) and Paride Pascucci (1866-1954).
Continuing along Via Roma you find some of the most beautiful and important buildings of the city, the 'Petruccioli House' and the 'Incontri House', notable especially for its balcony and entrance in travertine marble. At the end of Via Roma enter Piazza San Gregorio, where you see the facade of the cathedral.
The façade of Pitigliano Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul dates from the early 18th century, and has an entrance in Renaissance style with stuccos depicting angels holding the cross.
On the sides there are niches with statues of Saints Peter and Paul and a bas-relief in Carrara marble representing the “Assumption with St. Rocco and St. Francis”.
To the left is the bell tower, originally built for defensive purposes. The interior of the cathedral has a nave with two side chapels that contain some interesting paintings by local painter Francesco Zuccarelli ('St. Michael' and 'The souls in Purgatory').
Continue along Via Generale Orsini to reach the Church of Santa Maria with a façade dating from the 16th century, divided by pilaster strips and which has a portal surmounted by a tympanum. The interior has three naves, with columns of travertine.
Proceeding from the Church of Santa Maria along Via Zucconelli you wiill find yourself immersed in a series of narrow streets and alleys that are the most evocative in Pitigliano, and very picturesque thanks to the uninterrupted succession of houses and ancient buildings including the 18th century 'Monte di Pietà' and 'Scrittoio delle Fortezze'.
Pitigliano retains its own particular charm outside the city walls as well, as in Orsini Park, where you can admire statues and other artefacts now corroded by time.
A visit to the surrounding region will help you appreciate the traditional gastronomy and wine of this part of Tuscany, such as the famous wine called Bianco di Pitigliano, which gets its special flavour from the tufaceous lands that are characteristic of the area of Pitigliano and Grosseto.
In restaurants you can taste the typical dishes of the Maremma: traditional sheep and goat cheeses, “crostini” [canapés] with vegetables, pate with bacon.
Among the first courses, we suggest the ravioli with sheep's milk, ricotta and spinach, with butter and sage; ravioli with ragout, with fresh tomato and basil. Among the main courses, you can taste the lamb in white wine with artichokes of Pitigliano, sucking pig with potato, and the Maremma wild boar.