The typical product of Massarosa is of course its olive oil, the surrounding hills being rich in olive groves producing the oil in the autumn. Massarosa's weekly market is held Tuesdays. Massarosa is located on the autostrada A11 between Viareggio and Lucca , and can also be accessed from the state road.
Located east of Viareggio in the foothills of an area inhabited since pre-historic times, Massarosa
offers environmental and cultural elements that are very different from those of the towns on the Versilian coast. The city was originally built on land that had been donated to the monks of the Lucca Cathedral in 932 by King Ugo. During feudal times, Massarosa was the site of many battles between those who wanted to dominate the city for the numerous concessions granted it by the King, like immunity from public taxes and autonomy from ruling powers. A castle was established in the early 1000's, over which the monks were also granted control.
By the mid-12 th century the territory had been granted municipal status after which fighting in the area between the clergy and the people grew so intense that no less than the Pope himself was called in to adjudicate, and by 1270, a division of power was agreed so that the clergy retained control over civil and judicial matters, and the municipality was given power of order over the territory. Massarosa was held by the monks of the Lucca Cathedral until 1789, after which it became part of the Municipality of Viareggio , becoming a municipality in its own right in 1870. Today, Massarosa and its surrounding hamlets and villages boast important works of art and architecture of historic significance, often linked to castles, fortresses and churches. The Pieve a Elici
, built in the 12 th century and completely restored, contains beautiful frescoes from the 13 th and 16 th centuries, exquisite gilt, wrought iron and wood work and embroidery. The church has perfect acoustics and in July and August hosts many concerts.
Also to be admired are the area's beautiful villas, most of which were built between the 15 th and 19 th centuries. Massarosa is also an important oasis for birdwatching, and from March to December, opportunities are available through the Italian Association for the Protection of Birdlife (L.I.P.U.
) to participate in this fascinating pastime. for further information. There are also numerous opportunities for kayaking, canoeing and sailing at Massarosa, often on Lake Massaciuccoli .
The town of Massaciuccoli , set on the eastern edge of the lake just south of Massarosa, offers a glimpse into life during the Roman era. The remains of thermal baths and houses can be seen ( photos ), together with ceramics dating to the 2 nd century BC to the 3 rd century AD, and a wonderful mosaic pavement depicting animal and plant life, at the Civic Museum