Today, August 16, 2012, I travel to Massa to visit a castle. Because of the narrow one-way streets with inadequate signage, the city is difficult to traverse. I ask and receive help from two very cute nuns dressed in gray habits. They suggest I follow them. And there we are, two nuns in front and me in back comprising a very short two car parade.
We arrive at a parking lot, they point; I park. Just before driving off they wave toward the top of a high hill, there rests the castle. From here I walk, snapping a photo or two before my camera lets me know I need to change batteries. Since buying batteries might be a challenge, I use my new smart phone. Many stairs and a cobble stone road lead the way.
The castle-fortress is immense. Records of a structure existing on this spot date back as far as 1164. However, in 1269 soldiers from Lucca leveled the structure that once existed. Sorry, I don't know when the castle that currently exists was built. However, I do know it change hands several times throughout the centuries and its last non-tourist use, as a prison, ended in 1946.
On a scale from one to ten, I rate a visit to this castle at eleven. If you are plan to visit northern Tuscany, this castle is a must see, the immensity of it so mystifying that finding my way out challenges my navigational abilities.
Unfortunately, I somehow delete all the photos taken on my smart phone.