Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 17, 2012

Put Pitigliano on your list

Pitigliano is a beautiful town in the very south of Tuscany. It sits on a high ridge of tufa, volcanic rock. If we had driven towards it from the sea I would have been able to show you a spectacular photo of the sheer cliffs with tumble of houses on top made of the same material.

We came from Orvieto, another town sitting on top of a tufa plug, left behind after the area around was worn away over centuries by the wind. We only had a few hours in the town, but we made the most of it. After parking the car in a car park nearby, we headed into town via a walkway above the street far below, through some houses, into Piazza Garibaldi (almost every town has one).


The town sits well above the plain below. The area has been inhabited since Etruscan times.



The main square in town is Piazza della Republica, dominated by the Palazzo Orsini.




Part of the old town is known as the Little Jerusalem, for the historical presence of a Jewish community. We set off to find the Synagogue. Of course we wandered through narrow,winding streets. 4,000 people live in and around the town and it has a lively, happy atmosphere.








For several hundred years the town was home to a flourishing Jewish community, mostly made up by people fleeing from Rome during the Counterreformation. The museum, which also includes entry to the synagogue is very well presented. There is an underground bakery, the bath house and a slaughter house dug deep into the tufa under the town.









The synagogue has been beautifully restored.






After the Jewish museum we went in search of lunch. There were several other churches and buildings to explore, but they will have to wait until next time.





We chose Osteria Il Tufo Allegro for lunch and we agreed that food was the best we had eaten on our little adventure. The restaurant is dug into the tufa and is a series of small rooms.


Now, take a look at lunch.



These bread rolls were absolutely pefectly cooked…..and delicious.





I also photographed the lunch of the person beside us because it looked so good.


We had no room for dolce, but these delights were served with coffee.


We met the charming chef and his lovely wife who served our delicious lunch, Domenico and Valeria.


Say hello when you go, and you should go………. have a bread roll for me.

The restaurant is in Vicolo della Costituzione 5. It is closed on Tuesday and for lunch on Wednesday.
Telephone….. (39) 0564 616192


  1. Oh dear Debra, I miss always your photographs… Thank you, they are so beautiful, Greetings and Love to you and to Italy, love, nia

    • Thank you Nia. I love being back in Italy.

  2. When are you going to write your book: Eating in Italy?! I LOVE that you find wonderful places to eat.

    • That’s not a bad idea. I could eat my way around Italy. Il Tufo Allegro was excellent. It would be in the book.

      • I KNEW that bistro had to make the grade. The presentation made me want to touch everything! >:-D

        If I may–perhaps you have eaten your way around Italy already and the book is certainly already photographed?! This post definitely needs the tag food!

      • We watched with envy every dish that was delivered to other tables. We wanted everything.

      • I laughed when I read that you’d taken a pic of the neighbor’s meal, too. I know you’ve done that before! Still hilarious!

        Maybe THAT’s the true topic of your book (that I’m writing for you in my head!)–Other People’s Food! I know just what you mean–wanting to waylay someone else’s order, just for a taste, before it was delivered! hahahahahaha

  3. One of the many wonderful towns in Tuscany. It is difficult to say which one is the most beautiful. And the food looks delicious! Great photos, Debra.

    • Pitigliano is lovely…..I will be back. Orvieto is a favourite too.

  4. I feel that was very very very good lunch πŸ™‚ Wonderful post, Debra and Liz.

    • It was a great lunch. I can recommend the restaurant if ever you are in Pitigliano.

      • We will be in Italy in May or June next year, but don’t know the region else. If it will be Tuscany I’ll write you. Thank you.

      • Please do let me know of you are coming to Tuscany next year. I will be here in May.

  5. I meant to tell you that I discovered a blog called Orvieto or Bust. Made me think of you.

    • I follow Toni’s blog. She gave me some excellent tips for Orvieto.

      • Silly me! How could you NOT know of her blog?! >:-D

  6. What a wonderful posting — love all the photos. The food looked soooo good – especially the folded lasagna layers w/beef? πŸ™‚

  7. Wonderful photos. The food looks really delicious. Love the chandeliers. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you. Pitigliano was a delightful surprise. I had not been there before and didn’t know what to expect.

  8. I love the architecture and your lunch looks delicious. The chef’s hair is beautifully curly – he must have looked angelic as a child.

    • He certainly had a mop of curls.

  9. Hi Debora

    Emailing you from Lucca to say hello. We are friends of Kay Kither and we are planning on heading up to Bagni di Lucca in a couple of days time If you are free we would love to meet you for a coffee as we are four Aussie ladies who love reading your blog. would love to hear from you

    regards Jan Fabretti

    Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2012 15:07:13 +0000 To:

    • I would love to catch up for a coffee.

    • I would love to catch up for a coffee.

  10. I have a spectacular photo of the town from the base, I use to take all my tours to Tuscany here, and we always ate at the same restaurant, they are Slow Food members and so pleased you also found it. Did you find the bakery and buy the Jewish biscuits?

    • We loved the restaurant and we did find the bakery, but the queue went for miles as it was Jewish New Year.

  11. What a lovely old town! Thanks for the tour, Deb!

  12. Beautiful pictures! I love the bistro and lunch choices!

    • Sometimes you get lucky when you chose a restaurant in a new place. This time we got very lucky.

  13. Love the cosy atmosphere of stone and wood inside Il Tufo Allegro! Lunch looks so fresh and scrumptious – my mouth was watering just looking at the different foods. Enjoyed the tour of the Jewish museum and adore the funky green Vespa leaning outside the bottle shop. Another trip of smiles for me πŸ™‚ I agree with Lagitana you should write a book – suggested title: “Intrepid Italian Food Taster Off the Beaten Track”…

    • Pitigliano is definitely a place I will be going back to.

  14. I’m so happy to see that the synagogue has been restored, I first read about the building thirty years ago in Edda Servi Machlin’s stellar cookbook The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews, I really recommend the book in order to see what the Jews of Pitigliano ate previous to the war, very different from the eastern European cucina.

    • The restoration is very good. Lots of care has been taken with authenticity.

  15. The Jewish cuisine of Pitigliano adopted by their non-Jewish neighbours is a Slow Food Presidium.

    • The town definitely needs another visit…..soon.

  16. Gorgeous, i booked to stay in Pitigliano for 2 nights but didn’t make it and had to cancel…This defiinetly means i need to go back:) It is a hard life. wonderful post as always:)

    • You must go back! Pitigliano is lovely.

      • i will be…just need to stray further a field from lovely lucca tough:) But Pitigliano is HIGH on the list..

      • It is difficult to drag yourself away from Lucca.

  17. What a delightful looking meal and town. And I’ve wanted to photograph other people’s meals but never have. Maybe I should! πŸ˜›

    • I always ask first. Nobody has ever said no.

  18. Food food food !!! We have just gone through Puglia enjoying the local cuisine. Amazing

    • It is one of the very good reasons to come to Italy.

  19. You have a great knack for a great place to stop for lunch Debra. Another day in paradise! Enjoy.

    • The restaurant was a very lucky choice.

  20. I love your photos of this town the food looks scrumptious!

    • The food was too delicious for words.

  21. BEAUTIFUL as always! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Dakota.

  22. Girls I have just discovered your fantastic website. I have been travelling yearly to Coreglia Antelminelli to further my maternal family tree, our line of the Pellegrini’s came to Melbourne /Sydney in the 1860’s. The tradition of gesso figurine makers still survives in my re-discovered Pellegrini cousins . The Etruria factory is on the road leading down to Piano Coreglia.The gesso museo in Coreglia is well worth a visit and our family has many marriages crossing this fanatstic artistic gene pool .
    I have only visited Bagni di Lucca on my last visit and now I will definitely will plan my next trip mid 2013 (unfortunately) around your site .Thanks

    • Bagni di Lucca was also famous for making figurines and there are still a couple of places making them here. I will check out the museum soon……thanks for the tip.

  23. What a wonderful place to visit and the food looks divine.

  24. It seems really very interesting!

  25. […] …and Pitigliano, where we had the most amazing meal. Thank you Domenico and Valeria from Osteria Il Tufo Allegro. […]

  26. […] here to see another visit to Pitigliano showing the very well preserved Jewish […]

  27. I obviously came over from the current post. Stunning … simply stunning … and a place that I would love to visit.

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: