Eclipse in Maremma: the Arches of Little Jerusalem

Main Arches of the Medicean Aqueduct of Pitigliano
Architectural photography of the Medicean aqueduct in Pitigliano.

Here is some architectural photography from one of the magic and picturesque small towns of Italy, located in Maremma, the heart of Tuscany.
It is a shot of the main arches of Pitigliano’s aqueduct built in the 16th century and based on architect Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane’s design. The construction work for this structure of hydraulic engineering began under the Orsini family, one of Italy’s most influential noble families during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, but was completed only many years later, in 1639, when the area was incorporated inside the Gran Ducato di Toscana (the Grand Duchy of Tuscany) under the control and jurisdiction of the House of Medici, a powerful family founder of the largest bank in Europe during the 15th century, originated in the Tuscan countryside near Florence.
The aquedotto mediceo (Medicean aqueduct) was built to direct the waters of the nearby rivers Meleta, Lente and Prochio inside the village of Pitigliano. Made with tufo (tuff or tufa in English), a particular kind of soft and feasible rock consisting of consolidated volcanic ash, typical of the area (therefore called the Area del Tufo), the structure perfectly integrates with the natural landscape and the architecture of the medieval town of Pitigliano, also known as the “Little Jerusalem”, due to the presence for many centuries of a well integrated Jewish community, as evidenced by the presence of a Jewish cemetery and a synagogue that still exists today, though no longer used.

This photo was taken the day of the 2015 solar eclipse which coincided with the Spring equinox (for the ones living in the north hemisphere) in March. It was shot from the base of the very tall pillar of the aqueduct around 10:30 a.m., supposedly the peak of the total eclipse, unfortunately not so visible and appreciable from this latitude (there was a slight difference in the light of the sky that could be noticed only by those who knew about the solar eclipse).

Spring time was celebrated in Pitigliano just the day before, in the traditional festival of San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph), where locals gather at night with torches to light the burning man called invernacciu (the “ugly winter”), a giant puppet made of reeds symbolizing winter. Indeed a good way to say goodbye to winter and to welcome spring time, while drinking local wine and having fun!

2 thoughts on “Eclipse in Maremma: the Arches of Little Jerusalem

  1. Pingback: The Origin of April Fools’ Day Fish | Sir Joe Works

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