One of the nice things about waking up in a small Italian town is that by your second day, the locals start to recognize you, and while maybe not treating you as if you’ve lived there all of your life, they do greet you when you walk past. People that only the day before, looked at you as a stranger, now smile and say “Buon Giorno.” You’ve spent time in their town, getting to know the place and it’s inhabitants, and it pays off in wonderful ways. This is part of the reason why I hate just visiting a town for an hour or so. To me, that is simply a tease! I want the bigger picture! I want to know a place and the people that bring life to it. And Massa is a wonderful place for this to happen. There is a rhythm to life here. And it’s one that hasn’t changed in a very long time.
The entrance to our B&B was on Via Moncini, a lovely street that slopes uphill to the top of the town, lined with shops whose owners might be found sitting outside in the sunshine, on the benches in front of their establishments, talking with neighbors. Directly below the apartment that we occupied, was a shop selling salamis, wine, cheese, and other delicious Tuscan delights.The Residenza d’Epoca is the entranceway with the two flags over it.
Directly across the street from the apartment that we stayed in was Palazzo Communale, Massa’s town hall. This is a very beautiful building, which now houses the municipal offices.
Nearby is Palazzo Pretorio which houses the Museo Archeologico. While the museum is a small one, there are a few treasures inside of it, and it is worth visiting. A single ticket costs E 5.00, while for E10.00 it is possible to by a ticket which will get you admission to four other of the city’s attractions.
One thing that I didn’t want to miss while in Massa was a visit to the Museo della Miniera – the mining museum. They only allow a certain number of visitors in at a time, as they are semi-guided tours (which I will explain later). So, having already made a reservation for later in the day, I still had some time to kill, and spent it exploring more of Massa Marittima’s lovely alleyways.
At the edge of the town, I stumbled upon a lovely circular garden. The views of the countryside from there were breathtaking, but what made it even more special was the fact that the town had wisely placed speakers in various locations around the garden from which classical music played. It was such a peaceful, lovely experience!
From the park, there was a stairway which led to a walkway along the town walls.
The Museo della Miniera is a museum that is great for the entire family. Children would find it interesting, as well as adults. Language is not an issue as each person is given a set of headphones and a control. The guide then takes you inside of the old tunnels where the miners used to work, and the process is explained. You learn about the conditions that the miners worked in, what they did, the machinery that they used, etc. I am not a person who would normally find something like this interesting, but I found it fascinating, and kind of fun to be deep inside of a mountain like that. By the way, the entrance to this was included in my E10.00 ticket that I had purchased at the Museo Archeologico.
see Massa Marittima – Day Two – pt 2