Nestled in the Frigido River Valley, Massa is a picturesque town on the north-west coast of Tuscany. It was once ruled by the Malaspina family as the Duchy of Massa and Carrara and is renowned for its processing of marble. Among its attractions are a 15th-century castle and a majestic ducal palace.
Things to do in Massa
In the heart of Massa is the Piazza Aranci, which is named after the orange trees planted here in the early 19th century. Watching over the square is the monumental Palazzo Ducale, a Renaissance masterpiece beautifully decorated with stucco work and marble portals. Step inside to admire the columned courtyard and the rocky nymphaeum featuring a statue of “Neptune Riding the Waves”.
Dominating a rocky hill overlooking the town is the Malaspina Castle, which defended the coast against pirate activities for centuries. It features impressive curtain walls and offers magnificent views across the plains leading to the Tyrrhenian Sea. During Dante Alighieri’s visit to the castle in the 14th century, he is said to have been inspired to write parts of his “Divine Comedy”.
Art enthusiasts should visit the Museo Gigi Guadagnucci, which occupies a former hunting lodge surrounded by seasonal floral displays. It celebrates the life and work of the locally-born artist, Gigi Guadagnucci, who was a leading master of marble sculpting in the 20th century. All stages of his creative process are represented in the 40+ works on display.
Getting around Massa
Massa is around 30 minutes’ drive from La Spezia and 45 minutes from Pisa International Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe and North Africa. Regular trains connect from Pisa and Genoa to the Massa Centro railway station and buses travel throughout the city. The centre of Massa can easily be explored on foot.