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