The name is of Roman origins: Sergiani. Sarzana was an important Medieval village and at present is the second most populous municipality in the province of La Spezia. The town is situated in the Regional Park of Monte Marcello, a few kilometers from the coast and the border with the Region of Tuscany, in the end corner of the Valley of Magra, which runs the large river with the same name. Sarzana was built along the via Francigena and was an important reference point for the roads of communication between Liguria, Tuscany and Emilia Romagna. The city keeps intact the image of the medieval ages and it still preserves a wonderful section of its antique fortified walls, enlarged and partially rebuilt around 1500 by the Florentines. The plan of the walls is pentagonal, interrupted by circular towers and other fortifications. The town offers with its presence an interesting example of military architecture of the Renaissance proposing antique houses, art masterpieces, architecture, sculpture and paintings. The village of Marinella di Sarzana is a exclusive seaside resort with fully equipped bathing facilities and offers a long sandy coastline for miles.
The village was built in the late XI century, enclosed into two primary urban centers, in an area already populated in Neolithic times, as evidenced by some finds. Capital of the Lunigiana area, town with its own council during the Middle Ages, Sarzana was disputed between the bishops of Luni, Castruccio Castracani and the Malaspina Family. It was dominated over the centuries by the Visconti of Milan, the Medici of Florence, the Banco di San Giorgio and, finally, it submitted the domination of Genoa in 1572. The town remained under the control of Genoa until the decline of the Republic of Genoa at the times of Napoleon. With the Congress of Vienna, the territory was annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia and from 1861 it became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
The town had an agricultural, commercial and strategic importance and since the Middle Ages, it was a legal and religious center.
Not to miss:
The fortress of Sarzanello, dating '300 and very well preserved.
The Parish of St. Andrew built between the X and XI centuries. The façade is decorated with a XVI century portal. Inside are preserved marble sculptures dating from the XIV and XV century and la Vocazione of Saints John and James of the artist Fiasella.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, of medieval origin, but built in Romanesque-Gothic style. The structure is flanked by two side buildings of the XVII century and inside it features a wooden coffered ceiling, carved by Peter Giambelli in the second half of 1600. It houses paintings by Solimena and Fiasella, Renaissance sculptures of Francis and Leonardo Riccomanni, a pottery school of Luca della Robbia. It also hosts the oldest painted Italian Cross, that dates back to 1138, artwork of Maestro Guglielmo.
The Renaissance palaces: Picedi, Magni-Griffi and Picedi-Benettini.
The Church of San Francesco. The first documented news of the church dates back to 1238, but at the end of the XIII century the monastery was still under construction. Inside a lunette frescoes attributed to Priamo Della Quercia, the adoration of the shepherds of Fiasella, an XVIII century altar, a painting by Antonio da Carpena and a masterpiece of Thomas Clerici, that dates back to 1656.
The Church of Our Lady del Carmine that preserves an artwork of the painter Francesco Maffei from Vicenza dating from the XVII century.