Massa Marittima, a Tuscan Secret

January 23, 2015 / Places
Massa Marittima, Toscana

Massa Marittima is not on the tourist trail, but it should be. We were captivated when we entered the town and came upon the stunning Piazza Garibaldi with its magnificent Cathedral of San Cerbone sitting high above the piazza. It is reached by a steep stone staircase, imposing itself.

Massa Marittima

The cathedral is built from travertine and begun in the 12th century and completed in the 13th century. It has a lovely rose window with rare 14th century glass, a Romanesque font from 1267, a Gothic reliquary from 1316 , a 14th century fresco, a Roman sarcophagus from the 4th century and many more stunning pieces. Allow plenty of time to wander through.

Massa Marittima

The town was originally built by the Etruscans. The area surrounding the cathedral is filled with beautiful buildings with several interesting shops, bars and restaurants. It is called La Citta Vecchia…the old city.

An area sitting high above the old city is called La Citta Nuova, new city. I have no idea why. It is dominated by the Candlestick Tower which was built in 1228 and the Sienese Fortress dating from the 14th century.

Massa Marittima

You can climb the tower and I suggest you brave the steep narrow steps to the top for amazing view over the countryside to Elba, Montecristo and Corsica.

Massa Marittima

The lucky residents of Massa Marittima have a beautiful park at the top of the town to wander or have a picnic.

Massa Marittima

Make sure you locate the Fonte dell Abbondanza, the Source of Abundance. It is a covered spring at the end of a building, now covered with glass for protection. It was dubbed the Fertility Tree when it was discovered in 2000. It is a fresco of a tree covered in penises…amazing.

Massa Marittima

The town is about 50 kilometres NNW of Grosseto. The name doesn’t refer to the sea, but to Maremma, the area. Don’t miss it.

by Debra Kolkka

Debra is a traveller and blogger who divides her time between Australia and Italy. She writes a blog called Bagni di Lucca and Beyond.

6 Responses to “Massa Marittima, a Tuscan Secret”

  1. Mike Dudley

    Looks beautiful and quiet. Never been there myself, but I remember my father’s eldest brother, long dead now, telling us about spending a holiday there in the 1960s. This was in the very early days of Brits taking vacation in the Med, so I suspect he may have seen the name and assumed it would be a seaside resort……………..

    • Massa Marittima is a beautiful town. It is not far from Bagni di Lucca, where we spend several months each year. We will be making Massa Marittima a regular place to visit. We felt there was much more to see.

  2. Victoria De Maio

    Grazie for sharing about still another wonderful jewel of Italy! Interesting to be sure and the views!
    Also, I can’t help but wonder about that fresco and the events that influenced it? The birds? The women under the tree? Very interesting indeed!

    • That fresco is truly weird. It was being restored when we were there. It will be interesting to see it up close when the barriers come down.


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