The Diocesan Museum in Massa is located within the ancient Episcopal Palace in Via Alberica, in the city’s historic centre. Commissioned in the 15th century by Alberico Cybo Malaspina for the second-born children of the ducal family, the palace was used as residence to the Archbishops since the creation of the Massa Diocese in 1820. In recent years, following intensive restoration works ordered by His Eminence Monsignor Eugenio Bini, the building’s “piano nobile” (the floor that once held the lord’s quarters) has been reassigned as an exhibition area inaugurated by the Monsignor in March 2003.
All of the items on display belong to the Diocese’s parishes, and are permanently or temporarily housed within the museum’s rooms due to specific safeguarding or promotion requirements.
The most significant artefacts include two altarpieces by Bernardino del Castelletto, a Renaissance-era painter originally from Lombardy but active at length in Massa; a polychrome wood sculpture of a monk saint by Iacopo della Quercia; a bronze crucifix recently attributed to Gian Lorenzo Bernini; a notable collection of silverware, including a shrine encased within a statue by Flemish artist Giovanni Vambrè; a rich and important collection of liturgical vestments and fabrics.
The Museum regularly organizes temporary exhibitions both delving into specific aspects of local history and culture, and aimed at providing a platform for contemporary artists. It also offers educational itineraries for school-groups, guided tours and lectures.