Massa, Province of Massa-Carrara, Tuscany

Situated at in north-western Tuscany at the mouth of the Frigido valley on the western slopes of the Apuan Alps, the town centre is about 5 km from the Ligurian Sea. The local economy is mainly based on the tertiary and especially the tourism sector at Marina di Massa. Industry is almost exclusively concentrated in the marble trade. Among the typical agricultural produce are the Candia wine and cured pork products.


  • Altitude: 65 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 70,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 54100
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0585
  • Patron Saint: St. Francis of Assisi, celebrated on 4th October.

Administrative Division

The comune includes 5 circoscrizioni and a great number of frazioni.
  • The Circoscrizioni: 1 - Zona Montana; 2 - Destra Frigido; 3 - Centro città; 4 - Largo Viale Roma; 5 - Marina di Massa.
  • The Frazioni: Altagnana, Alteta, Antona, Baita, Bargana, Bergiola, Bondano, Borgo del Ponte, Bozzone, Ca' di Cecco, Caglieglia, Campareccia, Canevara, Capaccola, Casania, Casette, Casone, Castagnara, Castagnetola, Castagnola, Cervara, Cinque Vie, Ciremea, Codupino, Cupido, Forno, La Gioconda, Gotara, Gronda, Grondini, Guadine, Le Iare, Lavacchio, Marina di Massa, Mirteto, Monte Pepe, Ortola, Pariana, Partaccia, Pian della Fioba, Poggi, Poggiolo, Poggioletto, il Ponte, Porneta, Poveromo, Poveromo Macchie, Pratta, Puliche, Quercioli, Redicesi, Remola, Resceto, Ricortola, Rinchiostra, Rocca, Romagnano, Ronchi, San Carlo Terme, San Cristoforo, San Leonardo, San Lorenzo, Santa Lucia, Il Santo, Sei Ponti, Turano, Tombara, Vergheto, Le Villette, Volpigliano, Zecca.


Its origins go back to the pre-Roman age with the population of the Ligurian Apuani who settled in the mountain area and close to the Frigido River. The town appears in the Latin records of the "Tabula Peuntingeriana" as Ad Tabernas Frigidas, as a resting place for travellers in transit along the consular road Aemilia Scauri from Pisa to Luni.

From the 15th century Massa was the capital of the independent Principality, later a Duchy, of Massa and Carrara, ruled by the Malaspina family, and the town grew around the Malaspina castle. In 1829 the city passed to the Dukes of Modena, the Este family of Austria. In 1859 it was annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia.

The city of Massa and his people suffered greatly during World War II. Beacuse of its location along the Gothic Line in September 1944 and April 1945 it was repeatedly bombed by the Anglo-Americans, while the Nazi-Fascists brutally slaughtered countless civilians. In memory of those terrible days, on April 25 2006 Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi awarded the city the Gold Medal for Civil Merit.

What to see

  • The Renaissance Palazzo Ducale, overlooking Piazza Aranci, named after the double row of orange trees that surround it.
  • The Rocca Malaspina, a medieval fortress overlooking the town of Massa, located in the district of Massa Vecchia perched on a rocky spur, and existing since around 1000 AD.
  • The Cathedral, dedicated to Saints Pietro and Francesco; the original church of St. Pietro in Bagnara rebuilt on a project by Alessandro Bergamini on a previous construction that collapsed in 1672, was in demolished in 1807 by order of Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, and the title of St Peter was added to the church of St Francis.
  • The Orto Botanico "Pietro Pellegrini" at Pian della Fioba, on about 3 hectares, that preserves many endemic species typical of the Apuan Alps.
  • The 20-km long coastal area, including the centres of Poveromo, Ronchi, Marina dei Ronchi, Marina di Massa, with long sandy beaches and a pinewood, popular summer resorts since the early 20th century.

Where to stay

ItalyHeritage on Facebook
Family History
Genealogy ResearchNeed help in your research?
Contact us with details and priorities.
Provinces of Tuscany
Toscana region
Surnames in the Provinces of Toscana