20 km from the hotel Prategiano in Tuscany Maremma: Massa Marittima is located on a large rolling hill covered with olive groves and holm oaks. Its origins are very ancient, but the town peaked in the Medieval Age, as the presence of many monuments can testify.
The first official document in which Massa appears is the tenth century, and it is a contract of sale elencante several castles sold by Ropprando cleric to Marquis Lamberto. Between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the town of Massa Marittima reached its maximum splendor, becoming a free municipality and cogniando its own currency, the Big 20 Coins and Money Small.
Fall under the dominion of Siena, the city saw their plundered resources, pestilence and missed reclamation of the surrounding wetlands led to a high demographic collapse, which marked a period of ruin through the village.
In 1554 during the war between Siena and Cosimo De Medici, the city of Massa it fell under the siege of the Spanish, then became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Under the power of the Medici and later of Lorraine, the village regains its original splendor, recovering also the mining activity, which ended only in 1994 when the town closed its last mine. The town still retains its medieval appearance, protected by two boundary walls, Piazza Garibaldi that is the main square, home to many of the symbols of the city, such as: The Cathedral of San Cerbone (Duomo di Massa); The church and convent of St. Peter of the Garden, which today houses the Museum of Sacred Art and Exhibition Centre of Contemporary Art Angiolino Martini; The Town Hall; The Palazzo del Podesta, houses the Archaeological Museum; Palazzo Malfatti with the Loggia del Comune. In the upper town, built during the domination of Siena you can admire the Fortress with the Clock Tower, the Church of Sant'Agostino, and the Palazzo delle Armi, now houses the Museo Civico. The medieval traditions are preserved and twice a year (May and August) you can relive the trainers of Girifalco, a competition that consists of a shooting with the crossbow. Perched on a panoramic hill, Massa Marittima offers its visitors a breathtaking view of the coast of Follonica and the beautiful surroundings of the Metalliferous Hills.
The plan of Massa Marittima is characteristic of italian cities and features two parts. These are the Old City, where the Romanesque style predominates, and the New City featuring Gothic constructions. In the star-shaped Garibaldi square, one can admire the Duomo from the years 1200-1400, the Palazzi del Podestà (1200) and dei Priori (1300) (at present it is the Commune's seat), and the small Palace and Tower of the Conti di Bisernio.
Most of the buildings are made of travertine stone and have become an ash-grey-golden colour over time.
Other important monuments are the Clock Tower (1440), the ruins of the Senesi Fortress, the small Palace of Weapons, St. Francesco and St. Agostino Churches, and St. Bernardino cloister. "The Crossbow of the Gyrfalcon" (Balestra del Girifalco) is an historical festival which is held twice a year in Massa. It is a game among the crossbowmen of the three neighborhoods of the town, held the first Sunday after the 20th of May and the second Sunday of August. In the summer, local crafts shows are held.
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