Malaspina Castle in Carrara
In 1861, the Kingdom of Italy announced the Malaspina Castle as the new site of the Reale Accademia di Belle Arti (Royal Academy of Fine Arts) of Carrara, reversing the fate of the building that just a few years before, during the years of the Restoration, had held citizens in lazar houses and prisons. The Academy was instituted by Elisa Baiocchi, the sister of Bonaparte and the Duchess of Lucca and Massa, in 1806.
Before revisiting its origins, we should recall the renovations it underwent during the 1900s, following the earthquake in 1920, when a reconstructive restoration – much in style at the time – brought the Medieval fortress back to life. This was followed in the 1950s with the rebuilding of the Palace of the Principe dei Cybo, which was raised by one floor, distorting its perspective relations with the nearby castle.
If we move beyond its recent history in search of official news of its foundation, we must go back to 1187, when Malaspina Castle – which we find traces of as Rocha de Cararia – was transferred to the Marquis of Malaspina by the San Colombano di Bobbio Monastery. The fortress was expanded various times: by Guglielmo di Massa-Corsica-Cagliari, a blood relative of the Malaspinas, in the 13th Century; by the Campofregoso family of Genoa in the 15th Century; and again, a few decades later, by Jacopo Malaspina of the Spino Fiorito di Fosdinovo branch, who chose it as his residence.
The Palace next to it, with its clear Renaissance structure, was built by Ricciarda, the last of the Malaspina Marquis and the second bride of the noble Lorenzo Cybo from Genoa. A descendant of the illustrious pontiffs Leone X Medici and Innocenzo VIII Cybo, Lorenzo built un picciolo ma vago palagio iusta la rocha de Carraria (roughly, ‘a small but indistinct lawful palace on the rock of Carrara’), which was completed in 1557 by Alberico I Cybo-Malaspina, the new Marquis of Massa and Prince of Carrara.
Today, in addition to the Academy , the Castle houses a library – which preserves two original editions of the Encyclopédie in its beautiful Sala delle Colonne – as well as Italy’s most exhaustive marble museum in the Sala dei Nobili (Noble Hall), with a collection of plaster works and sculptures and a number of local antique archives.
Source: Trame di Lunigiana