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Diocese of Massa Marittima

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(MASSANA)

Massa Marittima, in the Province of Grosseto, in Tuscany, first mentioned in the eighth century. It grew at the expense of Populonia, an ancient city of the Etruscans, the principal port of that people, and important on account of its iron, tin, and copper works. Populonia was besieged by Sulla, and in Strabo's time was already decadent; later it suffered at the hands of Totila, of the Lombards, and in 817 of a Byzantine fleet. After this, the bishops of Populonia abandoned the town, and in the eleventh century, established their residence at Massa. In 1226 Massa became a commune under the protection of Pisa. In 1307 it made an alliance with Siena, which was the cause of many wars between the two republics that brought about the decadence of Massa. The town has a fine cathedral. The first known Bishop of Populonia was Atellus (about 495); another was Saint Cerbonius (546), protector of the city, to whom Saint Gregory refers in his Dialogues. Among the bishops of Massa were the friar Antonio (1430), a former general of the Franciscans, and legate of Boniface IX ; Leonardo Dati (1467), author of poetic satires; Alessandro Petrucci (1601), who embellished the cathedral and the episcopal palace; the Camaldolese Eusebio da Ciani (1719), who governed the diocese for fifty-one years. This see was at first suffragan of Pisa, but since 1458 of Siena. It has 29 parishes, 68,200 inhabitants, one religious house of men and four of women.


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