Massa Marittima

 View from top of Medieval structureOne of the larger of the hill towns we visit is Massa Marittima, with a well-preserved Medieval city core and three distinctive neighborhoods. Massa Marittima is a designated Citta Slow, part of the Slow City Movement.

The Slow City Movement was founded in Italy in 1999 and is closely related to the Slow Food Movement. Slow cities can have no more than 50,000 residents and must meet 56 pledges or criteria, grouped into broad categories: implementing environmental policy with an emphasis on recycling; developing infrastructure policy that improves the quality of the urban fabric; encouraging the use and production of typical and traditional local products, especially local foodstuffs; fostering hospitality and community, and promoting Citta Slow awareness. Designated slow cities are found in nine European countries, South Korea, and Australia, with the majority located in Italy.

As Paul Knox (1995) notes about slow cities, “These are ordinary places, but they are places that consciously seek to reinforce their own identity and to facilitate an unhurried and enjoyable way of life for their inhabitants.”

When exploring Massa Marittima, students have the opportunity to assess whether or not the commitment to Slow City Movement principles makes that city different from other Tuscan hill towns they have visited.

Knox, Paul L. Creating Ordinary Places: Slow Cities in a Fast World