The city enjoys a fabulous position on the first slopes of the foothills of the Alpi Apuane and at the opening of the narrow valley of the Frigido River. The urban expansion, which developed greatly in the past decades, has created the link between Massa and nearby Marina. In the latter half of the 9th cenury, after the Episcopate of Luni was deposed, it was the fief of the Obertenghi; disputed between the Pisans and the Lucchese, it moved under the domination of Viscontini and the Florentines to finally pass in 1442 under the control of the Malaspina family with Carrara.
About a century later, Alberico I, of the Cybo Malaspina lineage, became the Lord of Massa and promoted foundation of a new city (Cybea). In 1741, possession of Massa was passed by marriage dowry to the Estensi which held it, save for a Napoleonic parentheses, until the annex to the Kingdom of Sardinia (1859).