The Palazzo Orsini is, without a doubt, the finest building in Pitigliano, and one of the oldest, beginning life as an ancient religious convent.
Brought by the Aldobrandeschi in the 13th century, the convent was already 100-200 years old and was transformed into another Fortezza Aldobrandesca.
The Aldobrandeschi made the building their home and the city their new capital, but their rule was short lived as the entire countryside went to the Orsini in 1293, following the marriage of Romano Orsini and Anastasia Aldobrandeschi – the last heir of that Aldobrandeschi branch.
From the 13th century onwards, the Orsini worked to make this building one of the most beautiful in the region. Unlike the various Fortezza Aldobrandeschi around the countryside, this palazzo was a home and was thus appropriately grand.
When the Orsini lost power in the 17th century, the building was kept as it was and hasn’t been renovated since.
Today, the palazzo’s exterior has two tall towers surrounded by pristine plaster and tufo walls and grand battlements.
As you walk up the impressive stone ramp and past the Monumento alla Progenie Ursinea, you come to a round arched doorway that bears the coat of arms of the Orsini family.
The arch opens into a gorgeous little stone courtyard with Renaissance designs. In the corner is the Pozzo del Palazzo Orsini – a beautiful cream-coloured well that was built in the 15th century and carved with intricate floral designs.
The well originally brought water into the palazzo, but now, according to local legend, brings luck to all who touch it.
All around the courtyard, is a terrace with thick stone columns. If you go up the short flight of steps, you’ll find an intricately carved timber door that opens into the only section of the palazzo open to tourists.
Inside are the Museo del Palazzo Orsini and the Museo Civico Archeologico della Civiltà Etrusca museums.
The Palazzo Orsini has all the grandeur and magnificence you expect from a noble family’s home. It has also maintained its historical integrity, which makes it all the more fascinating.