SARZANA | LIGURIA REGION
Sarzana, 15 km of La Spezia to the east of the Magra river, is the main center in Lunigiana, the area that takes its name from the ancient town of Luni. Apart from its rich historical past, and the wealth of monuments and art, Sarzana is also a modern town, a lively business and industrial center, famous for its glass-bottle factories.
The strategical position at the entrance to the valley of the Magra river, the boundary between Etruria and Liguria in Roman times, gave it military importance in the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages it was mentioned in 983, and again in 1202 when the episcopal see was transferred here from the ancient Luni, 5 km southeast.
A branch of the Cadolingi di Borgonuovo family, lords of Fucecchio in Tuscany, which had acquired the name of Bonaparte, settled near Sarzana before 1264. In 1512 a member of the family moved to Ajaccio, and it seems he was the ancestor of Napoleon Buonaparte. Sarzana belonged first to Pisa, then to Florence, then to the Banco di San Giorgio of Genoa and from 1572 to the Republic of Genoa. In 1814 it was assigned to the Kingdom of Sardinia.
WHAT TO SEE IN SARZANA
- The cathedral of white marble in the Gothic style, dating from 1355 but completed in 1474, contains two sculptured altars.
- The Citadel, built by the Pisans, a massive fortress, demolished and rebuilt by Lorenzo de Medici, also known as Firmafede.
- The castle of Sarzanello, built by condottiere Castruccio Castracani, whose tomb by the Pisan Giovanni di Balducci is in the church of San Francesco.
- The Palazzo del Capitano originally designed by Giuliano da Maiano (1472), but later largely modified.