This city has been inhabited since Etruscan times and was built on a foundation of tufa rock. The city rises 1,026 feet above sea level.
Pitigliano is also known as the "Little Jerusalem of Italy" or "La Piccola Gerusalemme"due to a long standing presence of a Jewish community that arrived in the 16th century. The Jews fled the anti-Semitic Roman Papal States that periodically drove out the Jewish population. In Pitigliano, the Jewish and Christian populations led a peaceful coexistence.
In 1622 upon the Medici family's rise to power, the Jews in Pitigliano were confined to a ghetto. Jews were identified by the red hats which were required to be worn by the men and red badges that were required to be worn by the women. By WWII, only a few Jews were living in Pitigliano, while most went into hiding from the Germans.
A visit to Pitigliano is akin to turning the clock back to the Middle Ages. The town has a fairytale like quality with its towers and turrets and cobblestone streets. The Via Cave, or Sacred Pathways used by the Estruscans, surround the town.