The church was built on the remains of the previous San Francesco monastery and was consecrated in 1389, as noted on the stone in the Chapel of the Stigmata. It only became a cathedral in the early 1800s, when the old cathedral, in Piazza degli Aranci, opposite the Palazzo Ducale, was demolished as ordered by Napoleon’s sister, Elisa Baciocchi, then governess of the Lucca Republic.
The façade is a 1936 reconstruction, based on designs by Cesario Fellini, while the basement holds the Cybo-Malaspina tomb, the final resting place of the town’s princes. The interior consists of one single spacious nave interrupted by a cross, with eight altars and the high altar of the apse, all richly ornate in multicoloured marble.
The Cathedral of Massa is a treasure trove of works of art, such as Pinturicchio’s Madonna with Child, a nativity scene in coloured terracotta by Benedetto Buglioni, Bergamini’s marble altars and a font by Riccomanni.