Massa Marittima and its beautiful historic center

Massa Marittima and its beautiful historic center

History of Massa Marittima

Massa Marittima is a city in Tuscany that can boast one of the most beautiful and best preserved historic centres.
Coming from the coast, you find it nestled on the side of one of the first hills of the Tuscan Metalliferous Hills complex. Its dominant position over the entire valley and the surrounding plain, together with adequate fortification, led it to be one of the major Tuscan powers of the medieval era.

The first documented traces of the existence of Massa Marittima date back to the 10th century. AD, but findings of both prehistoric and Etruscan settlements confirm that the area was already inhabited even in more ancient times.
The greatest development of Massa Marittima, however, occurred during the medieval period of the Municipalities. In fact, between the 13th and 14th centuries, the city will have its greatest splendor, with a notable urban development, driven mainly by the transfer of the episcopal seat to Massa and the intense exploitation of the mineral resources of the area. Silver and copper mines were active in the area surrounding the city, so much so that in the first half of the 1300s Massa Marittima even minted its own coin: the Grosso.

Around the middle of the 14th century, Massa Marittima became part of the State of Siena, with which it had already had close relations a century earlier. In 1555 it was annexed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, where it remained until the unification of Italy, which took place in 1861.

Visit Massa Marittima

As mentioned above, the city of Massa Marittima has one of the best preserved historic centers in Italy. A unique place full of charm that evokes times gone by. In this particular context, several films and commercials have been shot over the years. Among these we mention the very famous Kuki Aluminum advertisement from the 90s (watch the spot on Youtube), broadcasted for years on all national TV networks and where some glimpses of the city can clearly be seen.

As soon as you enter the historic center, you find yourself immersed in the Middle Ages and you can clearly see how the square had been the center of all the main activities of the city. All around Piazza Garibaldi we find:

  • The beautiful Cathedral of St Cerbone
  • Municipal palace
  • water spring with its amazing fresco (Fonti dell’Abbondanza)
  • Podestà’s palace
  • Palace Malfatti

The remaining historic center is divided into streets and alleys that lead from the walls to the highest part of the village, where you can find various panoramic points, for a breathtaking view that extends to the sea of the Gulf of Follonica. In the highest part of the city, called Città Nuova and built during the Sienese domination, there are historic buildings such as:

  • Church of St Agostino
  • Siena’s Fortress
  • Tower of Candeliere

Events in Massa Marittima

If you are visiting this part of Tuscany during the summer period, you absolutely need to keep an eye on the calendar of events in Massa Marittima. In fact, events are held here which, if you are in the area, are absolutely not to be missed. Among these we highlight:

Balestro of Girifalco

A crossbow challenge between the best crossbowmen of each “Terziere” into which the city is divided. There are two crossbow events every year, for a challenge that has ancient medieval origins (in-depth information on the website of Società dei Terzieri Massetani)

Lirica in Piazza

A series of concerts that have been delighting the city with top-quality music since 1986. These performances boast the evocative staircase of the city’s Cathedral as their stage and the historic Piazza Garibaldi as their audience. All the details on website of Lirica in Piazza

Calici di Stelle

A food and wine event that takes place in the alleys of the historic center of the city, with stands offering tastings of wines and typical products. All surrounded by lots of music.

Massa Marittima Today

Mining activity characterized the area and also the city throughout the 1900s, so much so that one of the few dedicated higher education schools in Italy was established in Massa: the Mining Institute. Once the last mine ceased (that of Campiano in Boccheggiano, closed in 1994) the city became a mainly tourist location. Thousands of people from all over the world come to visit this magical place, in the green Tuscan hills but a stone’s throw from the sea.

What are you waiting for? Come and visit Massa Marittima too! Among our holiday home offers you can find numerous solutions that will allow you to reach this historic medieval city comfortably and in just a few minutes!

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