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On Friday, I discovered Massa … I know, living at only one-hour driving from there is a pretty shocking statement, but I never had the occasion to visit it. Ascanio Celestini’s performance in town gave me an excellent opportunity.

Massa

Following the advice of Enrico, we parked in the tiny square under the Rocca, which not only allows you to leave your car for free, but I noticed is very famous for the fountain in its center given the queue of people with bottles to be filled!

Lunatica a Massa

From there, start a paved slope leading to the Malaspina Castle, an impressive medieval fortress built by Obertenghi (just like the Castello Doria of Vernazza) and overlooking the city.

Lunatica a Massa Lunatica a Massa

Its ramparts leave speechless, but the Renaissance palace is also imposing. The fortress is open to visitors as a whole for only € 5.50, every day until August 31st, from 10.30 am to 1.00 pm and from 5.30 to 11.00 pm (last admission at 10:30).

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Coming down from the castle, we stopped on the so-called Groppino, the hill above Massa, to admire what once must have been a beautiful church, called the Carmine, but is now visibly abandoned. Its portico with three arches is admirable, but unfortunately, it was covered with various tags, and the same fate befell the beautiful fountain along the walls. Such a pity.

Lunatica a Massa

From here start the “Piastronata,” the ancient paved alley with large plates in the mortar that connects the fortress to the historic village of Massa. Beautiful homes are located on both sides, and they have some enviable roof gardens.

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At the bottom of it, going to the left, the view opens onto the square Mercurio and the beautiful statue of the Roman god. One side of the square is dotted with bars and restaurants, while on the other stands the church of St. John the Beheaded and the town hall housing the local library. I will be back on a Tuesday morning to see the colorful and animated weekly market. Who knows what a nice contrast to the noble architecture …

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A short walk from this square, we run into a smaller one, called Market Square, dominated by the beautiful and complex Fountain of Aphrodite, used at the time of our visit as a private pool by a local dog plagued by the heat.

Lunatica a Massa

After being entertained for a few minutes by the dog, we went back to square Mercurio, crossed it, and got to the Church of Saints Peter and Francis, or the Cathedral of Massa. A majestic church with a neoclassical facade that one can appreciate step by step approaching along via Dante. Inside it is characterized by an imposing nave framed by four chapels on each side. Monumental.

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Leaving the cathedral, we treated ourselves to a non-alcoholic cocktail at Cafe Puccini, on square Guglielmi. A small bar tastefully decorated and taking part in a wonderful initiative, “the pink scarf.” Just choose a book displayed in the “Board of the honest” out of the bar, make a free offer … something beautiful and useful.

From aperitif we went directly to the table … I know, these are true sacrifices, but someone has to do it!

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We had dinner at the Enoteca Il Baccanale. A really nice place that serves generous portions and fine wines. On Friday night, an “I got rid of it” event in Massa, and even restaurants were proposing low coast fixed-price menus.

Celestini’s performance at the Lunatica Festival in Massa

We finished dinner just in time to reach the amazing Palazzo Ducale, sit down, and lights were turned off … Ascanio Celestini took the stage, and it was great!

Ascanio Celestini a Lunatica

If you speak Italian, check this video to discover his work.

The time has passed between laughter, applauses, the hard reality, and genius, and walking uphill along the Piastronata allowed us to absorb everything and fix it in the memory.

Lunatica a Massa

A short memo that actually doesn’t apply only to Massa, but a bit to any Italian town…

The most beautiful views, monuments, and noteworthy Hidden Corners are difficult to photograph and difficult to share online. Road signs and garbage cans seem positioned specifically to spoil prospects and views of the whole when it would be easy and free to move them a meter to enhance the landscape and heritage.

A pity, or better, a real waste.

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.