Situated on the southern slopes of the Colline
Metallifere, amid the valleys of the Pecora, the Zanca and the Noni
Rivers, Massa Marittima has been inhabited right from primitive times.
First the Etruscans and then the Romans were perfectly aware of the
silver, iron and copper mining wealth; Massa Marittima's importance
grew after the destruction of Populonia by the Saraceni and substituted
it as Episcopalian centre. It underwent huge demographic development
due to the great mining wealth in the first few centuries after the
year one thousand.
In 1225 it became a free town and at the beginning of the XIV century
the first official Mining Act was drawn up, probably the first in history.
It passed under the dominion of Siena that decided to build the Fortress
and the New City, in a higher position in relation to the Old City and
finally halfway through the XVI century, after grat battles, it was
eventually conquered by the Florentines togerther with all the territory
of the Republic of Siena.
The Pisan Romanesque style Cathedral is dedicated
to San Cerbone, the apsidal part and the presbytery were enlarged by
Giovanni Pisano, while the Gothic style rose window is the work of Girolamo
from Pietrasanta. The Cathedral holds 13th - 15th century architectural
and artistic works of art that are of great value. Great architectural
and historical value is also represented by the Fortezza, the Palazzo
Comunale, the Palazzo Pretorio, which is the centre for the Archaeological
Museum and last of all the Palazzo delle Armi. The San Pietro, Sant'Agostino
and San Francesco churches are also very beautiful.