The Malaspina family were a noble Italian family of Lombard origin, descending from the obertengo family of the Marquis of Tuscany, who, from the XIII-XIV century, managed the many fiefs of Lunigiana and, from the XIV century, the marquisate of Massa and Lordship of Carrara, then principality of Massa and marquisate of Carrara.
The founder was Oberto I, appointed Count of Luni in 945, Marquis of the Marca of Genoa by the King of Italy Berengario II in 951 and, finally, Conte palatino in 953.  He had two sons, Oberto II, who inherited from his father the title of Count of Luni, and Adalberto I, whose descendants gave life to the families of the Pallavicino and the Cavalcabò. This was the offspring of Oberto II: Berta, wife of Arduino, king of Italy; Ugo, count of Milan; Alberto Azzo I, Count of Luni, whose posterity will give life to the Este of Brunswick and Hanover; and finally Oberto Obizzo I, progenitor of the Malaspina prosperation.
In 1004 Oberto Obizzo I, fought together with his brother-in-law King Arduino against the Bishops-Counts of Luni: it was only the first conflict that the family had with the rulers of the town of Roman foundation. Son of Oberto Obizzo I was Alberto I. Son of Alberto I was Oberto Obizzo II (? -1090), father of Alberto II (? -1140), the first to be called Malaspina (and for this reason sometimes considered the true progenitor of the family).
On the origins of the surname there are various theories: some date back to the times of Anco Marzio (as illustrated by the paintings in the halls of the castle of Fosdinovo), some think of a legendary episode of killing an enemy, the king MerovingioTeodeberto I, in 548, a story told on five sandstone panels on the entrance portal of the Malaspina palace of Godiasco, through a large thorn; others still link them to the likely unbecoming conduct on the part of Alberto or some of his relatives.
Alberto Malaspina expanded the family possessions from the Apennines near the Lunigiana and entering into antagonism with Genoa and the bishops of Luni.
In 1124, in the peace treaty of Lucca, reference is made to divisions of goods that involved the descendants of Oberto who, over time, will give life to several famous European noble families: Brunswick, Estensi, Pallavicino, of the marquises of Massa, Sardinia and Corsica and the Malaspinas properly so called.
Alberto's son, the Marquis Obizzo I Malaspina (? -1185), first fought against Federico Barbarossa in support of the rebel communes, but then, when the emperor took the upper hand, he supported him and supported in the battle against Milan (1157). He rewarded him by investing him with the dominions of Liguria, Lunigiana, Lombardia and Emilia. In 1176, however, Obizzo, after escorting Barbarossa to Pavia, unexpectedly allied with the Lega Lombarda and attacked the sovereign. Also for this double game, Federico was defeated in the battle of Legnano. In the peace of Constance, Obizzo was however forgiven by Frederick, who confirmed his possessions. The last two events (the battle of Legnano and the peace of Constance) are represented in the paintings preserved in the hall of the castle of Fosdinovo, made by Gaetano Bianchi at the end of the nineteenth century.
Obizzo I had two sons: Obizzo II Malaspina (also known as Obizzone) and Moroello I Malaspina. The descendants of the first child will be called Malaspina dello Spino Secco, those of the second will be called Malaspina dello Spino Fiorito (1221).
Son of Obizzone was Corrado I Malaspina (whom Dante called "the ancient"), the first true exponent of the Malaspina of the Spino Secco, who obtained all the possessions to the right of the Magra plus the territory of Villafranca, which was on the left of the river . From him they descended: Manfredi, Moroello di Mulazzo, Federico di Villafranca and Alberto. Moroello "Vapor di Valdimagra" was born from Manfredi, a friend of Dante Alighieri; from Moroello di Mulazzo, Franceschino Malaspina was born, who took part in the wars between Guelphs and Ghibellines and hosted the Supreme Poet several times during his exile in Lunigiana, naming him his procurator and the other Malaspina (including some of the other branch) in the negotiations peace with the bishop of Luni Antonio da Camilla, who will lead to the peace of Castelnuovo (1306); Federico di Villafranca was the parent of Obizzino and the famous Corrado Malaspina il Giovane, to whom Dante turned to the VIII Canto del Purgatorio for recognition of his family.
The descendant of Moroello I Malaspina was instead Guglielmo, whose son was Obizzino, the true progenitor of the Malaspina of Spino Fiorito who received all the territories to the left of the Magra. Married to Caterina Cattaneo, he had three heirs: Bernabò, Isnardo and Alberto. Isnardo married Cubina d'Este who gave birth to Gabriele I and Azzolino, who, in turn, fathered three children; Spinetta Malaspina, called Il Grande, who bought the fiefdom of Fosdinovo in 1340 without leaving legitimate offspring; Isnardo; finally, Azzolino, whose successors will assume the title of Marquises of Fosdinovo (1355).
The division of land between the heirs of ever increasing numbers led to a division of the domains into ever smaller fiefdoms.
The Malaspinas now supported the Ghibellines now the Guelphs. As belonging to the Guelph faction Obizzino took part in the struggles of the Lombards against the Hohenstaufen. With Moroello dei Malaspina di Giovagallo he was head of the Tuscan Guelphs who defended Florence against Henry VII. The Tuscan Ghibelline faction in defense of the emperor was led by another exponent of the family, Spinetta Malaspina, called the Great.
It also had a broad and compact seigniory in the area north of Genoa (area of the Four provinces), in the valleys of the rivers Trebbia and Staffora. Both the lordships, that of the Lunigiana and the one to the north of Genoa (called Lombard), soon collapsed due to the adoption of the Longobard law which provided for the division of goods (and also fiefs) among all the sons.
Some members of the Malaspina ruled a part of the Giudicato of Torres in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, but above all, from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, the branch of the Cybo-Malaspina governed the independent marquisate of Massa and principality of Carrara (then duchy of Massa and Carrara ). The Sardinian possessions of the Malaspinas were: the castle of Serravalle (Bosa) with the curatoria of Planargia and Costa de Addes; the castle of Osilo with the curatoria of Montes, Figulinas and Coros. The members of the family had the title of princes of San Colombano.