|Jewish Culture of|
Entrance of the Synagogue
The Jewish Community
The history of the Jewish community of Pitigliano is extraordinary. Since the middle of the 16th century more and more Jews came to Pitigliano. Partly owed to the fact that they were forced out of the Papal States (the border to Latio, a former papal territory is only 5 km away) As time passed a flourishing Jewish community life developed here.
In the 19th century the living conditions of the Italian Jews improved. he Jewish segment of the population of Pitigliano rose to around 20 % in 1850- unique in Italy. After the unification of the country in 1871 the Jews were granted legal emancipation and subsequently their share of the population of Pitigliano sank, because many families left the place to look for a better future in the larger cities. By 1931 the Jewish community only comprised of about 70 members and was therefore united with the community in Livorno.
In the 30's the situation of the Jews deteriorated. Beginning around 1936 massive anti-Semite propaganda began, and after the installation of racial laws in 1938 the situation began to become unbearable for the remaining Jews. Those who could, emigrated, others were deported. By lucky circumstances and also by the help of gentile Italians, who risked their lives, apparently all the Jews of Pitigliano survived. Today there is no Jewish community any more, but the cultural heritage is maintained. The impressive synagogue has been restored and cultural events take place there. The "forno delle azzime" (the kosher bakery), is once again accessible. There's still a large Jewish cemetery, that can be visited on request.
Pitigliano is also well know for its wine. The "Bianco di Pitigliano" has received many prizes. A kosher version also exists that has become more and more popular over the last years.
In that year Tuscany had twice been conquered by the Napoleonic
army. In between these two conquests generating from the city
of Arezzo a Christian movement called "Viva Maria" developed along
the lines of an anti-Jacobite ideology. Using the protection of
that counter-revolutionary movement group of soldiers of the nearby
city of Orvieto tried to attack and rob the Jewish community of
Pitigliano. Such events also occurred in other Tuscan cities.
But only the citizens of Pitigliano, both Jewish and gentile,
together kicked the aggressors out of town.
In the context of the 200th anniversary of these events in 1999 the city had organized a meeting "The Jewish Community and the Facts of 1799", moderated by Signora Elena Servi. Roberto Salvadori, bestinformed about the Jewish history of Pitigliano, referred in a detailed way the events of 1799.
|above: the interior of the Synagogue|
|An Interview with Elena Servi
President of the Association
"La Piccola Gerusalemme"
in Pitigliano about the history
of the Jewish Community
Roberto Salvadori: La comunità ebraica di Pitigliano, dal XVI al XX sec., Firenze 1991 (Italian).
Giuseppe Celata: Gli Ebrei a Pitigliano - I quattro Secoli di una Comunità Diversa, Pitigliano 1995
Riccardo Pivirotto - Monica Sideri: L'ebreo errante, Orbetello 1997 (Italian).
Edda Servi Machlin: The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews, New York 1981. As the title says, a cookery book, but it contains an interesting description of the day-to-day life of Pitigliano' Jews in the 30's and 40's too (English).
Edda Servi Machlin: Child of the Ghetto, New York. In this book the author describes her youth in Pitigliano during the war (English).
Eytan Kahn is co-initiator of the 1799-1999 project. Here are his Pitigliano-pages "The Little Jerusalem" (English/Italian/German).
Restaurationsprojekte: Description of restoration projects, financed through public funds, such as the synagogue (Italian).
Wolfgang Pruscha: His pages about Germany and Italy, contain a lot of information, and an interesting article on anti-Semitism in Germany. (Italian/German)
|If you are interested in a guided tour to places of jewish culture please contact the association "La Piccola Gerusalemme". Moe information you will find here.|
|The "Cantina Cooperativa", the cooperative wine producer also provides besides other considerable wines like the famous "Bianco di Pitigliano" the kosher "La Piccola Gerusalemme" in red and white.||obove: The synagogue from below|
|Trips to the Surroundings - Roman Traces near Pitigliano|