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Post Prosciutto and Maremma; "La Piccola Gerusalemme"
Created by John Eipper on 12/06/17 5:26 PM

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Prosciutto and Maremma; "La Piccola Gerusalemme" (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 12/06/17 5:26 pm)

Given that the approval for prosciutto is so widespread among us, I have a suggestion for the next WAIS meeting: somewhere in Maremma, Tuscany.

There you can enjoy very good prosciutto, the Etruscan, Roman, and Renaissance civilizations, beautiful Romanic Churches, Medieval towns, and fantastic wines. One of the most interesting of the Medieval towns is Pitigliano (Italy's Little Jerusalem).

Maybe a few words on this town are necessary.

The Jewish population of Pitigliano probably arrived from Spain after 1492 or even before. When the Papal States' orders of 1555 and 1569, plus those of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany of 1570 and 1571, imposed restrictions on the Jews, many of them settled in Pitigliano, which was an independent County ruled by the Orsini, who did not impose any restrictions on the Jews.

Even when the County became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, after some initial problems, the Jewish Community of Pitigliano retained all its freedom of action and properties, which was exceptional for those times.

In the 1700s, Pitigliano was the only great Jewish Community of the Maremma.

In 1799 the local Catholics successfully defended the Jews from the soldiers of the anti-Napoleonic League, which wanted to plunder the Jewish properties. Until the immediate post-WWII era, an annual ceremony was carried out to commemorate this, with all population of the town gathering in the synagogue.  During the final years of WWII the Jews of Pitigliano and nearby areas found refuge there and were protected by the Catholic population.

But after the war the local Jews started to emigrate, and unfortunately in 1960 the synagogue was closed.

Presently only a very small Jewish population remains in Pitigliano, but their monuments are taken care of. There is a cultural Association "La Piccola Gerusalemme," while the Cantina Sociale makes several marvelous wines (famous among these is the "Pitigliano White"). They also make a Kosher wine.

The good things about the Maremma are infinite and I could go forever.  By the way, my wife is from Maremma.

JE comments:  I really like the idea of WAISers "pitching" different regions for our next conference.  Who is next?  Maremma sounds hard to beat for its history, scenery, and delicacies (no Kosher prosciutto, though).

Thank you for the history lesson on Pitigliano, Eugenio!  I knew none of this.  Was the Ladino language preserved among its Sephardic residents?


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  • Maremma and Toscanini (Edward Jajko, USA 12/07/17 5:49 AM)

    Maremma (see Eugenio Battaglia, 6 December) was also the vacation retreat of Arturo Toscanini. (Although he was Parmigiano, not Tuscan.)


    JE comments:  There must be an alternate universe out there where we listen to Parmigiano, and sprinkle Toscanini cheese on our spaghetti.


    Either way, I'm getting hungry.

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  • Prosciutto, Panettone, Maremma (Roy Domenico, USA 12/08/17 2:46 PM)
    My mouth has been watering as I followed the recent posts on prosciutto and panettone.

    I was glad to see at least a brief mention--from Salvatore Bizzarro--on San Daniele prosciutto, from the northeast, near Udine. I guess that the Parma variety is more famous, but I've heard many Italian arguments over which is better. I only ask to sample both so I can come up with an informed opinion.


    On panettone--it's the season and we always have it in the house through the New Year. My wife, however, has put me on a carb diet and I see that, surprise, panettone has its share. So I've been pretty moderate. I'm not a diet fanatic so a nice-sized piece here and there won't do any harm. (And I've lost about 6 pounds so far!) I'm not a panettone snob, but just don't buy it with pieces of chocolate in it.


    Finally, on the Maremma, I feel obliged to say that it's also famous as the land of the authentic Italian cowboy--like the French cowboys of the Camargue.


    JE comments:  My introduction to (Brazilian, egads) panettone is slated for later tonight.  You can call me the Walgreens gourmet!


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