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Chiusi or Pitigliano area - Help in choosing for Etruscan aspects

Chiusi or Pitigliano area - Help in choosing for Etruscan aspects

Mar 12th, 2014, 08:45 PM
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Chiusi or Pitigliano area - Help in choosing for Etruscan aspects

We are going to be staying near Pienza in May for 5 nights. We'd like to explore some Etruscan sites and check out a corresponding museum. We are considering either Chiusi or Pitigliano, Sovana and Sorano. Chiusi looks to be about 30 min. from where we are staying, and Pitigliano, Sovana and Sorano are about 90 min. from where we are staying. I'd really like to do Pitigliano et al. because we also love medieval towns and it looks incredible. But I also don't like to burn so much time driving. I'm wondering what you all think about how the two different areas compare in terms of 1) the Etruscan sites and museums and 2) the cities themselves for their medieval sections. I'm trying to decide if it's worth spending more time driving to/from the Pitigliano area. Thanks for your insights!
karensantamonica is offline  
Mar 13th, 2014, 01:21 AM
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Chiusi's museum is perhaps the best Etruscan museum in Italy in terms of labeling and layout, and its very high quality collection. You can also take underground tours there (including having lunch in Zaira and asking to see their wine cellar, which is an Etruscan passageway). Chiusi was one of the 12 towns of the original Etruscan league. You can also go a few miles out of town to see the tombs there if you arrange with the museum to get them unlocked for you. Chiusi itself is an extremely pleasant, undertouristed town, with lovely architecture, good downhome food and wine, plus a one of the area's least touristy food markets (if you care). Basically, apart from the small knots of tourists who come to visit the museum, this is an actual Tuscan town functioning as a town for locals, not as a town for tourists.

I have never walked the Etruscan pathways of Pitilgiano, so I can't compare. Most people who go to Pitigliano go for the tufa town itself, and in particular for its Jewish history, and many are bowled over by its unrenovated medieval jumble (especially if they have only visited the Renaissance towns of Tuscany) and now bang on other people that Pitiigliano is a MUST. But if you can't comfortably work it in your trip you shouldn't force yourself, and if you a very interested in the Etruscans, I wouldn't sacrifice a trip to Chiusi to go to Pitigliano.
sandralist is offline  
Mar 13th, 2014, 09:37 AM
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Sovana is a pretty little town; its Etruscan necropolis is not one of the major ones, and I don't think it has an Etruscan museum.

Tarquinia has one of the best Etruscan necropoli in Italy, especially prized for its painted tombs. It also has an excellent museum. However, it's in Lazio, not Tuscany, and about a two-hour drive from Pienza. The other two towns are not such a terribly long drive.
bvlenci is offline  
Mar 13th, 2014, 10:32 AM
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Thatnks for both of your thoughtful replies - that helps in terms of prioritizing for the Etruscan sights. But Pitigliano sounds wonderful for its "medieval jumble". Do you have any thoughts about what other small towns nearer to Pienza are best for their medieval character? We've been to Montalcino, San Quirico d'Orcia, Pienza and Castiglione D'Orcia.
karensantamonica is offline  
Mar 13th, 2014, 05:56 PM
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I'm drawing a blank on anything that might be closer than Pitigliano that is equally dramatic. But have you ever been on the road going north from Pienza to Trequanda? The towns are tiny but vary in character and you might find it an interesting poke around. You could come back via the Abbey of Monte Oliveto if you have never been.

Where are you coming from in Italy and where are you going? I am wondering if it would be possible for you to see Pitigliano before or after leaving Pienza.

Also, I will point out that one way to both do a lot of driving but in a relaxed way is to constantly break up the excursions with pit stops. For instance, you could drive over to Chiusi in the morning, see the museum, then drive about an hour to Castel Viscardo or Castel Giorgio for lunch. After that, it is about a 50 minute drive to Pitigliano. You'd arrive when everything is reopening after lunch. See Pitigliano, but on the way back to Pienza, stop in San Casciano dei Bagni for a gelato or some kind of snack.

By the time you reach Pienza, you probably won't want more than a simple dinner, but you will have not driven very much at a stretch. Many of the towns I just names are not famous and don't have outstanding features, so you won't feel a need to tour them. But they are all quirky, with castles, or thermal springs, and you will get to see a side of Tuscany people don't see when they stick to the tourist trail.
sandralist is offline  
Mar 13th, 2014, 06:07 PM
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Nice place for a gelato stop


Nice place for lunch or somewhere near there on the way to Pitigliano


This hotel has a restaurant Italians seem to like:

sandralist is offline  
Mar 13th, 2014, 11:01 PM
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Yes, we are thinking of checking out the other small towns/villages near Trequanda one day - Petroio, Castelmuzio, Monticchiello and maybe making our way to Lucignano.
I like the idea of doing Chiusi in the morning and making our way to Pitigliano. The pictures of it at night are stunning or evocative, I think as the Italians like to say. Thank you for all of the suggestions for stops along the way - that's super helpful. I think we have a good loose plan for one of our days! We did go to Monte Oliveto last time. What a place. The wooded setting, the gate/drawbridge entrance, the frescoes and seeing the refectory set up for the monks' meal...Wow. I wish I could wrangle a stay or retreat there.
karensantamonica is offline  
Mar 14th, 2014, 12:31 AM
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As said Chiusi museum is one of the finest. The upper town is also worth a good stroll around and the Roman structures that incorporated into the tower.

But I would come here for the other local towns as well many good sites, with as many narrow streets as you can shake a stick at.
bilboburgler is offline  
Mar 14th, 2014, 04:01 AM
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Yes Pitigliano is fascinating - there's a parking spot about a mile out of town where you can stop and admire the view, and how its layers - estruscan, roman, medieval and more modern [?renaissance?] are displayed.

then drive up into the town, park and explore the tiny streets.

I suppose that it's a lot like Orvieto in that respect but without the cathedral and the hoards of tourists.

I'm not mad about the etruscans so it wouldn't be a must for me but it was certainly very interesting.
annhig is offline  
Mar 14th, 2014, 04:13 PM
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Sberg is offline  
Apr 21st, 2014, 11:17 AM
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We spent yesterday, Easter Sunday in Pitigliano and found it to be everything we had hoped it would be. A map/brochure we were given at a local wine shop really helped us...check out

www.museidemaremma.it Also: www.terredeglietruschi.it

Summer hours for the Jewish synagogue are 10:00-13:00 and 14:30 t0 18:00. It and the ghetto are well worth the effort and the staff was most helpful in answering questions that we had. This is not for the severely physically challenged as there are narrow alleys and lots of steps. My husband is 70, with circulation issues and he was able to do it, he just went slowly. As city centers go, it is small and manageable.

We had an excellent meal at Trattoria Il Grillo, Via Cavour 18 in Pitigliano Centro Storico, right at the entrance. Very reasonable and excellent quality traditional food. They start serving at 12:30.

The stunning view of the old town that others mentioned is seen from the southwest side of SS74, opposite the way you would probably be coming in from Pienza. It might behoove you to pass through center town first when you arrive (we're talking about 10 minutes drive time) continuing on Strada 74 direction Manciano,to see the fabulous sight; it will definitely give you a better appreciation of what you are seeing once you are in the centro storico. Along this route there are several pullouts where cars can stop and you can get out to admire the view and take pictures. At 2 km from Pitigliano, at Maria della Grazie church, there is an area where you can turn in to turn around safely out of traffic and return back to centro storico. This also is where one of the hiking trail heads "Via Cava della Madonna delle Grazie starts is you were interested in hiking an Etruscan trail.
See http://www.qrtravel.it for downloadable apps.

While I realize this is a 90 minute drive instead of a 30 minute drive, the scenery is beautiful, the drive easy except for some sharp swith-backs up and down some hills that require full attention.

Happy Travels!
klondike is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2014, 01:57 PM
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klondike - that sounds like a lovely experience. We didn't eat in Pitigliano, but several places looked very interesting. I'm glad you found a good one. I will mark it down for future reference.
annhig is offline  
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