The Malaspina Castle
Massa's castle dates back to the 11th century and was built to the Obertenghi's wish, in fact it would be more correct to call it ì the castle of the Obertenghi.
It was either a princely residence with its halls or an instrument of war and defence. In 1269 the castle was destroyed by the troops of Corradino of Sweden and later restored by the Malaspina family.
In the following ages the castle became part of the estates belonging to the Lucchesi, the Visconti and the Florentines. Only in 1442, Alberico I son of the marquise Ricciarda and Lord of the Lucchesia managed to impose the Malaspina rule in the area.
This old manor can be divided into three main units: firstly a medieval one, dating back to the Obertenghi period, who collocated it on the hilltop as the high enclosed tower suggests, since it must have been connected with other three towers on surrounding mountains to get quick sight of the enemies; secondly a late medieval part block, under the rule of Lucca, was an embattled wall with three towers, a drawbridge and the near residence of the marquises. Finally a Renaissance unit enlarges the medieval group with the addition of a new palace built by Giacomo Malaspina. In the same period the outside defensive fortifications were enlarged.
Inside the castle there are a lot of rooms, for example the "Sala della Spina" (The Thorn Hall) with frescoed walls representing landscape paintings, and the "Camera Picta" (Painted Room) with geometrical decorations. Both rooms have a typical umbrella-vaulted ceiling.
Even Carlo VIII stayed here during his invasion of Italy in 1494.
The castle, together with the houses below, made up the "Ancient Massa", proof of this is given by the "Porta Quaranta" (Forty Gate), which was used to enter inside the medieval walls on the west side of the hill. Not far from the castle are archeological traces of an ancient inhabited centre which laid at its foot. Now the castle is seat of a museum where important pieces, dating back to different times, are gathered, such as a roman amphora which was found at Nazzano, near Carrara.
The Gateway to the castle
the Malaspina castle
to the Castle Malaspia "Bloomed Spino"