After Cosimo I's 1570 Edict, the Jewish community swelled so much that the city of Pitigliano became an oasis of freedom known as 'Little Jerusalem'.
Pitigliano is a beautiful ancient town completely built of stone on top of a remote hill in the most unspoilt part of Tuscany.
In addition to the usual beauties of medieval Tuscan towns and countryside, Pitigliano has the unique legacy of a once glorious Jewish community: a perfectly restored synagogue overlooking the valley, the rooms of the ancient yeshiva, the mikvah, the bakery, the butcher's shop, a deep wine cellar excavated in the rocky hill, an old cemetery, a Jewish Film Festival, Kosher Wine production (both white and red) - and one of the two main streets of the old town is still in everyday life called "il ghetto".
Pitigliano was nicknamed "La Piccola Gerusalemme" (Little Jerusalem) because of its once large and thriving Jewish community and the shape and color of its hill and walls.
"La Piccola Gerusalemme" got this name both from the ancient medieval landscape of the village (that remembers the beloved Jerusalem) and the wisdom of this Jewish community, that once brought to the area many cultural and social advances (including the Jewish University of Pitigliano, which was founded in the community's flourishing days).
For Jews in general, and Israelis in particular, Pitigliano presents a tribute to ancient Jewish culture and life. It is also an historic landmark that remembers and honors the strong and warm relationship and links between the Jewish minority of Pitigliano (called once "la Nazione Ebrea" for hundreds of years), and the people of Pitigliano. This strong relationship of respect and admiration has been kept long after the almost complete disappearance of the Jews from Pitigliano; it is known that during the Holocaust, people of Pitigliano risked their lives to hide and save Jews that were escaping from the Nazi terror.