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IT TAKES A VILLA

VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 1

Back at the villa, we cook dinner with our tour guide, Romeo Innocenti, and his wife, Federica, who resembles a Botticelli angel. "Throw out that butter!" seems to be the mantra of Italian cooking. "I would rather be in jail than eat French food!" exclaims Romeo, a bit prone to hyperbole.[Pitigliano], the small Maremma town called "Little Jerusalem," has a dramatic setting atop a sandstone outcrop at the edge of a gorge. A safe refuge for Jews who fled the Papal States and other parts of Tuscany in the 16th century after edicts confined them to ghettoes in Rome, Florence, Siena and Ancona, it was a feudal enclave in Tuscany's southeast corner ruled by the Counts Orsini, a wealthy Roman family.A "La Piccola Gerusalemme" association was formed to cherish the long amity between Jews and Christians in Pitigliano. Yad Vashem has honored several local Christian families for rescuing their neighbors during World War II, and a 1999 commemoration was held here marking the time 200 years before when townspeople saved Jewish residents from riots.

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