Massa Marittima is one of the main art cities of the Tuscan Maremma. Its territory has been frequented since prehistoric times, as testified by important archaeological finds, first and foremost the splendid and enigmatic “Stele” of Vado all’Arancio, which can be admired at the Giovannangelo Camporeale Archaeological Museum in the Palazzo del Podestà. There is also an Etruscan section that bears witness to the intense mining activity of the time through the finds discovered in the settlement that stood near the shores and on the hills overlooking the still wild and unspoilt environment of Lake Accesa.
The Middle Ages that indelibly characterised the identity and appearance of the historic centre: heir to Populonia as an Episcopal seat, Massa Marittima grew demographically, economically and culturally in the 13th century, coming to draft one of the oldest Mining Codes in Europe and to mint the Grosso Massetano, the only currency in Maremma.
Entering Piazza Garibaldi one has the sensation of taking a plunge into the past: the Cathedral of San Cerbone, the Palazzo del Podestà, the Palazzo Comunale, the small palaces and noble tower houses form an unusual and surprising geometry. Here twice a year the medieval atmosphere is relived through the “Balestro del Girifalco”, a traditional crossbow shooting competition.
Be amazed by the unique fruits of the Tree of Fertility frescoed on the Fonti dell’Abbondanza (Fountains of Abundance) and reach the majestic complex of the Cassero Senese and the Torre del Candeliere (Chandelier Tower), from where you can enjoy an impressive view over the city and the hills to the sea. Don’t stop here: head for the Church and Cloister of Sant’Agostino and the Museum Complex of San Pietro all’Orto with its Museum of Ancient Mechanical Organs and the Museum of Sacred Art, a must for a visit to the Maestà by Lorenzetti, a wonderful ancient altarpiece.
Medieval tradition blends with the mining identity that has always characterised Massa Marittima: even today, deep signs can be seen in the territory – particularly in the hamlets of Niccioleta and Fenice Capanne – and in its inhabitants, who wanted to preserve its historical memory by creating the Mining Museum, a place that makes it possible to understand the context and work that have forged the character of the town.
Take some time to visit the picturesque villages of Tatti and Prata and for a stop in Valpiana to discover the metallurgical site of the Ferriere and the Mondo Marino Aquarium.
Our territory and our city deserve to be discovered slowly, savouring every corner, every alley and every view, perhaps stopping to taste our excellent and sought-after food and wine products, typical of Tuscan cuisine and way of life.