Oranges square


In the first decades of the past century, after the demolition of San Pietro church, double rows of orange trees were planted along three sides of the square, excluding the side in front of the Palace.
Carducci himself was fascinated by this square during his stay in Massa in 1887, as a letter to his friend Lidia suggests: "Do you know that there is still in Massa a square encircled by double rows of orange trees? Do you know that my mother saw the same rows when she was a young bride and that now I look at them out of the windows of my Hotel? I see the old green trees, but without oranges... they will come back..."
Carducci's mother got married in 1834: she probably saw the first generation of trees adorning the square since 1819. At first the oranges were sweet, but tourists, passers by and young people were not allowed to pick them. It was customary to pick the oranges to distribute them to the hospital and the charitable institutions. Later because of the frost, bitter or "apputti" oranges were preferred, being more resistant to the sudden falls in temperature.
The obelisk in the middle of the square with the fountain dates back to 1853, but only in 1870 it was adorned with the four marble lions, which were sculptured by Giovanni Isola..
The square was used during the second world war as an air-raid shelter: it was for this reason excavated under the four corners. During this excavation the ruins of the ancient San Pietro's parish church and of the adjoining cemetery have been brought to light.

Map of the
Massa