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pitigliano foto ruggero arena .jpg

Pitigliano (foto di Ruggero Arena)

Jewish presence in the small town of Pitigliano grew from the XV up until the XIX century to considerable proportions, reaching more than 10% of the overall population (an early '800s census counts 288 Jews). Pitigliano was under the rule of the Orsini family from the XIV century until 1604, and thus avoided the enactment of antiJewish laws in the early phases of the "ghetto period" as it was enforced elsewhere in Tuscany. Gradually Pitigliano grew to be the only Jewish center in Maremma, the south-eastern part of Tuscany; and remained a sizeable community until the XXth century.

In 1954 and 1956, Leo Levi was able to record the already disappearing musical traditions of Pitigliano with the collaboration of Azeglio Servi, who had been “capoculto” for a long time since before the war and the fascist persecutions, also in times when no rabbi was appointed (see his son Gino Servi testimony, interviewed by Liliana Picciotto, available at CDEC at the link A later set of recordings was made by Francesco Spagnolo, with Ariel Paggi as informant, in 2000.

Qaddish - Azeglio Servi, Pitigliano

Leo Levi himself described the recordings he made of Azeglio Servi as an "interesting variation of the Italian-Roman rite". Here we hear the distinctive Italian formula for the qaddish.