Thursday, March 04, 2004

Pitigliano: A Town from Lord of the Rings (by Sarah)


Today, I was surprised again by my dad waiting in the car for me right outside school! We went through the same procedure we did when we went to Sant Antimo and San Galgano and picked up my
mom and Alex at his school. Then, we started off on another day trip to Pitigliano this time!

Pitigliano is a town half way between Siena and Rome, high on a cliff with a strong Jewish community from the 1500's.

Sarah, Carla, Steve and Alex in Pitigliano
My dad had got in contact with one of his friends from the past, Carla.  She’s from Pisa and we had her over for lunch one day. We told her about how we don’t know many Jewish people but were interested in learning more about the community. In addition, we mentioned wanting to see Pitigliano. Turns out, she actually has a friend there. She happened to be nearby there today, and so she invited us to come on down!

After the one-hour and a half drive, we finally arrived at Carla’s cousin’s house. Her name is Costanza. They were very welcoming and served us tea and crostata! Then Carla took us into the town of Pitigliano. When we first saw it, we were astounded at the location. The town was built right on top of Etruscan caves. It looked like a city that was designed for Lord of the Rings; it gave off the same feeling as Minas Tirith did. We drove up, parked, and went to meet Carla’s friend, Adrian.

Pitigliano from below
Entrance to the Sinagoga
Adrian knew a lot about Pitigliano. He was cool because he spoke English with a British accent, and swore often in both Italian and English. He took us on a tour of the sinagoga. He actually has Jewish ancestors. We left the synagogue and then Adrian took us around the city and pointed out all of the architecture. When we looked at the walls of the base of the town, we could see huge pieces of volcanic rock. The Etruscans carved out their houses from the rock. We could see carved out places that used to contain items of the Etruscans. They were visible because the outer walls of the houses had worn down because of erosion.

Adrian’s really a very interesting person. He is a painter and lived in Florence before he came to Pitigliano.
Carla's friend, Adrian

He has an apartment in the town, as well as two studios. He took us to one of the studios and we had some delicious wine. His paintings were very inspirational. There was a story behind each one of them, and a point about life that he was trying to get across to the viewer. In his other studio we went to, he had his motorcycle. It was a beauty, and had both an Italian and British flag on it.

We were invited to dinner at Carla’s cousin’s house, so we bought some more wine and some pastries, and then made our way back there. It was a delicious dinner of pasta with artichoke and a wide selection of meats. They invited us to stay overnight too, but we had school the next day, so we had to go home. Adrian read my dad’s hands before we left, and that was pretty cool. On the way out, our host, Costanza, gave me the leftover cake. You know you’ve done something right when you’re walking out the door with a full stomach and a yummy pastry.

COMMENTS from the original blog

2004-05-05 17:00:05 Barbara
Re: Pitigliano:  A Town from Lord of the Rings (by Sarah)
I just had to check out the photos and they were wonderful.  They remind me of other hill towns we visited in Tuscany this spring.  One of the most interesting because of its Etruscan past was Volterra in the Val d'Orcia area.  There is a huge archeological dig at the top of the town and there are ruins of a Roman Amphitheatre way at the bottom.

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