Ducal Palace is in pitiful condition. Massa, Italia Nostra appeals to the province

In Massa, Italia Nostra meets with the province to discuss the Ducal Palace, which the association says is in 'pitiful condition.

In Massa, the Palazzo Ducale, the city’s symbolic building and seat of the ancient Cybo-Malaspina duchy, is in “pitiful condition” according to the local section of Italia Nostra, which does not mince its words and has therefore decided to appeal to the province, the entity to which the palace belongs. Palazzo Ducale, the palace erected by Prince Alberico Cybo-Malaspinanella in thesecond half of the sixteenth century to give a seat to his court, and then remodeled during the seventeenth century until it obtained its current imposing appearance, with its long facade (of eighty two meters occupying one entire side of Piazza Aranci) characterized by large framed windows surmounted by portraits.

What are the problems? First, the “hideous scaffolding” (as Italia Nostra calls it) that has long obscured what was once the palace of Alberico Cybo-Malaspina, one of the most interesting architectures in the region. Then, the uncertainties about the time needed for the recovery of the Ducal Palace, which is currently undefined, but which looks decidedly long. Finally, the doubts about the destination of the palace, now the seat of the prefecture (some rooms are instead intended for temporary exhibitions): the proposal of Italia Nostra is to create a museum in the rooms of the palace (an institute dedicated to the local art school or an archaeological museum or on the history of the city).

A meeting was held last November 3 between the two parties to discuss the state in which, for the past five years, Palazzo Ducale has been pouring: the meeting was attended by the president of the Province, Gianni Lorenzetti, secretary Pietro Leoncini, city councilor Stefano Alberti and architect Marina Tongiani, while for Italia Nostra the president of the Massese section, Bruno Giampaoli, and board members Marco Betti and Giuseppe Biamino were present.

During the meeting, Lorenzetti summarized the historical problems of the Ducal Palace, stressed that scaffolding is necessary for safety reasons due to the critical issues found on the eaves structures, and represented the critical issues of the Province in terms of lack of economic resources and personnel. Therefore, the situation is very difficult, but the president of the province nevertheless expressed interest in ensuring that the restoration of the Ducal Palace is fast-tracked. In addition, it was pointed out that the province’s budget has resources of about one million euros already to be able to finance the initial phase of the restoration project. According to architect Tongiani, the main critical issue lies in the fact that, at the moment, the project has not yet been authorized by the Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio of Lucca, which is also responsible for the province of Massa and Carrara. It has emerged that contacts are underway with the Superintendence, through a professional consultant hired by the Province to further investigate certain aspects and to adapt the project to the requests of the Lucca technicians.

Finally, the two parties agreed that there will be a next meeting to further discuss the architectural aspects of the project and its timeline.

Pictured: the facade of the Ducal Palace. Ph. Credit Piergiuliano Chesi

Ducal Palace is in pitiful condition. Massa, Italia Nostra appeals to the province
Ducal Palace is in pitiful condition. Massa, Italia Nostra appeals to the province

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