Massa and Carrara

April 9, 2012 § Leave a comment


Situated on one of the low hills which block the narrow valley of the stream Frigido, at the foot of the Apuan Alps, Massa is about five kilometers from the sea. The city contains various interesting examples of medieval and Renaissance architecture. Important buildings in Massa include the Palazzo Cybo Malaspina, which was begun in 1557 on what remained of a precedent Malaspina villa; the Cathedral, originally 13th century, but heavily remodelled and restored in the course of time; and the Museo Storico di Arte Sacra, annexed to the Cathedral. Note should also be taken of the 18th century Church of the Carmine and the Malaspina Castle, which consists of a large complex including the Rocca Malaspiniana which dominates the entire city, as well as the fortress, built between the 15th and the 16th century.


The town is separated from Massa by the hills of Candia. The torrent Carrione runs through the town which is situated below the Apuan Alps. Carrara is the city of marble; its inexhaustible quarries have been known for over 2000 years. The city is proud of its Marble Museum which exhibits samples of the various types of marble to be found in the Apuan Alps, and of the Palazzo Cybo Malaspina with its 16th century layout, the seat of the Accademia delle Belle Arti. Next to the fountain of Andrea Doria or of the Giant, a lovely unfinished work by Baccio Bandinelli, is the Cathedral, begun in the 11th century and completed two centuries later. It is completely covered with a facing of grey and white marble and is partly Romanesque and partly Gothic. The 13th. century campanile is a fine example of Ligurian architecture. The tripartite interior of the church is ornamented with 12th and 13th century frescoes and important sculpture.


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