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Discover Massa Carrara

Guide to vacation Massa Carrara
Discover Massa Carrara - Guide to vacation Massa Carrara

Massa
Massa stands 65 m. above sea level at the mouth of the Frigido valley, at the foot of the Apuan Alps (Mount Pisanino, 1,945 m.), a few kilometres from the Tyrrhenian coast.
Of medieval origin, it was long contested by various signories before, in 1442, together with nearby Carrara coming under the Malaspinas of Fosdinovo, later succeeded by the Cybo Malaspinas (1553). When this family line became extinct, Massa passed to the Estensis, the Dukes of Modena. After the Napoleonic period (1796-1815) it was annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1859. It is the capital of the province of Massa Carrara. From 1939-1946 the town was known as Apuania.

The oldest part of the town centre is of interest. It is partly surrounded by walls, beyond which stretches a newer district which started to grow in the 16th century, on Cybo's orders, following a precise urban plan.

Monuments: Palazzo Cybo Malaspina (18th century façade, interesting interior), Duomo (14th century, frescoes, 13th century wooden crucifix), Rocca (of medieval origin, with Renaissance additions, overlooking the town).

The economy of Massa, traditionally linked to the exploitation of marble from the nearby Apuan Alps, has in recent decades developed considerably also in the engineering, chemical, foodstuffs and building materials sectors. The town is also a fair- sized commercial centre.

Famous People: Felice Palma (sculptor, 1583-1625), Pietro Alessandro Guglielmi (musician and composer, 1728-1804).

Cultural Institutions: Museo Storico di Arte Sacra, Religious Art Museum, Orto Botanico (botanical gardens, at Pian della Fioba, 1,000 m. 15 km away), Museo del Duomo.

In the Province: Pontremoli (home of booksellers, Premio Bancarella-Literary award), Aulla (Research and studies of Lunigiana), Fivizzano (Archery competition 2nd Sunday in July), Marina di Massa (seaside resort).


Carrara
Carrara is situated 100 m. above sea level at the foot of the Apuan Alps (Mount Pisanino 1,945 m.), near the confluence of the Carrione and Gragnana torrents, approximately 7 km. from the Tyrrhenian coastline. Of medieval origin, in 963 it was given by Otto I to the Bishops of Luni. Carrara later belonged to the Pisans, then, from the start of the 14th century, was ruled first by the Lucchese, then by the Genoese Republic and by the Scaligeris and Viscontis. In 1442 it became part of the Malaspina lands (Duchy of Massa and Carrara), sharing the fortunes of nearby Massa. Today the two cities form a single Province.

Monuments: Duomo (Romanesque-Gothic, 11th-14th century, covered with marble, housing precious works of art), Palazzo Cybo-Malaspina (16th-18th century, Academy of Fine Arts), church of Carmine (17th century).

The economy of Carrara has for centuries been linked with the mining of the precious Carrara marble in the Apuan Alps, and is one of the world's major centres for marble production and exportation. The port of Marina di Carrara handles almost exclusively marble. Other industries here are engineering, textiles and chemicals. In summer there is also considerable tourist movement at Marina di Carrara.

Famous People: Pellegrino Rossi (politician, 1787-1848), Pietro Tacca (sculptor, 1577-1640), Pietro Fontana (sculptor, 1787-1858), Pietro Tenerani (sculptor, 1789-1869), the Bergaminis (family of sculptors, active in the 16th-18th centuries).

Cultural Institutions: Academy of Fine Arts, with art gallery, Teatro degli Animosi, School of Marble, National Marble Exhibition (conserving the Èdicola dei Fantiscritti' sculpted Roman pagan altar, found in the cave of the same name.

In the Province: see under Massa.



 

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