Massa, and the Massive Lions: In Pictures, The North West Tuscan Way, Tour 12

Tour 12 / The North West Tuscan Way / Massa, and the Massive Lions / In Pictures 
Pisa Map, Google Earth

p r e s e n t s

Massa Map 2 Google Earth

Massa Map 3 Google Earth

Massa Map 4 Google Earth

North West Tuscany for the Independent Tourist

IN PICTURES

Massa Map 5 Google Earth

Tour 12: Massa, and the Massive Lions

Massa and the Lions, on the North West Tuscan Way

The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEYIf Massa had a city center prior to the current incarnation as a perfectly preserved former administrative center; receiving,  auditing  and sending on it’s way unimaginable amounts of Carrara marble,  it has all but been obliterated by the uniformly long,  oxen-friendly,  streets fanning out from the mountain roads leading down from hundreds of quarries working the hills located directly above the city.     From here they were presumably weighed,   taxed and earmarked for the various ports and harbors along the scattered along the nearby Mediterranean coast.           The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEYAs evidenced by it’s long,   sleek layout,   Massa in it’s heyday must have been a beehive of activity as team after team of teamsters skillfully maneuvered,  cajoled,   threatened and persuaded their prized beasts down and along the gently-graded, obstacle-free, roadways.      The Pier at Forte dei Marmi by MARTIN COONEYMaximizing and uniforming the slope’s natural grade these long snaking marble trunk roads slither and slide through town as though too busy and preoccupied to much notice the place.             Massa Map 5 Google Earth Gone of course is Massa’s golden age of marble trafficking.       A brand new tunnel now whisks the huge 21st Century trucks right though the center of an adjacent mountain,    and straight down to the vast international harbor complex.   But for the ever curious Independent Tourist,   believe me,    Massa holds more than enough interest to while away several happy hours.       Massa Map 4 Google EarthWe’ll see a few of the sights today,    but to wander this grandiose remnant of a remarkably preserved,  formerly regal and prosperous,  marble market town –  now resplendently obsolete,    is to take a stroll down through the ages.     Packed within these narrow, arrow straight streets are numerous curiosities just waiting to stumble across.     Today’s tour will merely touch the surface.    Your own ramblings through town will undoubtedly turn up their own memorable share of surprises.     Today we will begin our tour  with a close up and personal view of the massive lions (currently my own “favorite outdoor sculpture   in the whole wide world”)   We’ll then head over to admire the utterly over-the-top, perfectly preserved, wildly outlandish, wedding cake of a classical Rococo cathedral.     After which we are to enjoy a superb gastronomic extravaganza at the wonderful    La Conca ristorante.         Hmmn…. getting hungry just thinking about it!

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It was a rainy Sunday afternoon when I stumbled across Massa.       In fact,  this was the first morning on which I awoke to hear rain pitter-pattering against my window, and so I was force to abandon my original plan of hiking the hills,   and instead made the short trip over from Pietrasanta not really knowing what to expect.     What I discovered was a completely empty city.    And I mean empty.    Not a soul did I encounter as I walked the deserted streets.    Quite why this was I have no idea,   for the rain was a light drizzle at best.     I could hear the sound of voices,   and televisions,   drifting out of shuttered windows,   but for whatever reason no one seemed intent on braving the weather,    and so I had the place to myself.        For those following the tour in chronological order today’s outing begins our first foray into marble country.    After this we are off to Colonnata – marble capitol of the world.    After which we will take a look at Carrara and the huge, immense, all-dominating,  truly massive marble industry.      Then we head right into the heart of one of the largest marble quarries it is possible to imagine.    From which point we head over, and momentarily outside of Tuscany,   to see what La Spezia has to offer the Independent Tourist.      I hope you’ll come along… for after that we wind our way up into the marvelous, mysterious and downright misty hill country that is Lunigiana!

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To read my views, observations, opinions and assorted ramblings please click on the link below:

Rogue Carver on the Loose in Italy: Massa to Myselfa       It was the Sunday prior to Easter and after having enjoyed a prolonged spell of beautiful weather I awoke to leaden skies and a dull damp chill in the air, the first inclement weather I had experienced in the two weeks I had been in Italy and the vista had the immediate but fleeting effect of dampening my spirits – clearly I needed a revised plan.             I had intended to head into the mountains to explore more of the hilltop villages that proved so fascinating over the previous few days, but one look at the mist-covered peaks persuaded me otherwise.           More by chance than choice I found myself in Massa, just a short 15 minute drive directly north of Pietrasanta; a town I knew practically nothing about aside from the few snippets of information I had garnered from a free tourist map – even my Lonely Planet Tuscan guide book made absolutely no mention of the place.     But being a fairly prominent city in the region I figured it must have something to contribute to my Tuscan adventure and so parking the car in a near-empty lot I picked my way through a series of nondescript streets lined with four and five story buildings that served to forge a vertical-sided urban canyon towards the direction I assumed contained the city center – although it was difficult to tell I was on course until a huge gate told me I was on the right track.      Strolling through the gate I had scant idea as to just what I would find on the other side, but what became immediately clear was the fact that whatever there was to discover I would have the place all to myself!      Making my way through the deserted streets, my footsteps plainly audible in the damp still air, I had justifiable cause to wonder where exactly the population had hidden themselves, and although it wasn’t actually raining at that precise moment the air was so laden with moisture a dampness began to form on the outer shell of my jacket.      The oppressive air, the almost complete lack of human beings, the silence, the low leaden skies, all gave cause to make me wonder just why exactly I was there?     My interest somewhat perked however when I caught sight of a massive square, fronted along one entire side by an enormous pink palace. I’m not quite sure just how many football fields it must have covered but to my utter astonishment this too was completely deserted. ‘Curiouser and curiouser’     ….more.

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Massa and the Lions, on the North West Tuscan Way

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The Curious One, The Lions of Massa, Italy

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The Lions of Massa, Italy

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Massa Lions, The Tortured One, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa Lions, The Bold One, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa Lions, The Curious One, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa Lions, The Curious One, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa Lions, The Curious One, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa Lions, The Tortured One, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa Lions, The Tortured One, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa Lion, The Bold One,

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Massa Lion, The Bold One,

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Massa Lions, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Cathedral, Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Cathedral, Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Italy

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Massa, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Lenny, The Fifth Lion of Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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and now

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And now, finally,   let’s all sit down to that truly delicious seafood extravaganza we’ve all been waiting for….

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La Conca, Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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La Conca, Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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Click here to visit La Conca Facebook Page

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La Conca, Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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La Conca, Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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La Conca, Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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La Conca, Massa, Tuscany, Italy

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next

The North West Tuscan Way: In Pictures

Downtown Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World, Carrara, Italy

Tour 13: Colonnata, Lard Capitol of the World

c l i c k   here

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thanks for visiting martincooney.com

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