The province of Massa Carrara is located on the northernmost tip of Tuscany, bordering with Liguria, Emilia Romagna and the Ligure Sea. It is one of the first 59 territorial subdivisions of united Italy. In 1859 it included parts of the former Duchy of Parma (the so-called Lunigiana Parmigiana) and former duchy of Modena. It was originally composed of three districts: district of Massa and Carrara, district of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, and district of Pontremoli.
It became part of Tuscany only in 1881, as it was previously part of Emilia. Other provinces passed to La Spezia and to Lucca in subsequent years, until 1938 when it was reorganized with the formation of the Apuania province and the industrial area by the same name. In 1946 the province was undone and renamed Massa-Carrara with its main center in Massa. It must be said that the right name would be Massa e Carrara, as Massa Carrara used to be the name of what today is simply named Massa to distinguish it from other nearby localities with the same name.
In 2009 the dash was annulled altogether with the 1946 and 1938 decrees. Now the province is called Massa e Carrara.
The province can be divided into to main geographic areas: The Apuan Riviera and the Lunigiana. Except for a short coastline of 14 kilometers with its long white beaches of very fine gravel along the municipalities of Montignoso, Massa Carrara and Versilia, the province is predominantly mountainous and hilly. A characteristic feature of the province are the Apuan Alps, mountains that reach a maximum height of 1,947 meters with monte Pisanino. From here the famous marble of Carrara is extracted. Within the province is the Lunigiana region, a valley bounded by the Apennines north and the Apuan Alps south, with at its center the river Magra.