The history of Sarzana

Cartina di Sarzana dell'anno 1750 (Vinzoni)
Sarzana oggi

The name of SARZANA appears mentioned for the first time in a diploma issued by Emperor Otto I dated 19 May 963, which recognizes the possession of the “Castrum Sarzanae” to the Bishop of Luni, situated approximately where the Fortress of Sarzanello currently stands; this “castrum”, castle or, more realistically, a small fortified village, owing to its strategic position had to have the function of controlling the important roads of the valley bottom.

The history of Sarzana continues and in the following years, presumably around the year 1000, it came to form more downstream, at the intersection of the Aurelia with the road to Parma and Piacenza, the real inhabited center of Sarzana.

The birth and development of Sarzana, which was becoming increasingly important over time, are probably related to the decadence of nearby Luni, which in those years was rapidly becoming depopulated due to the changed geographical conditions (the sea was considerably withdrawn, distancing himself from what had been a large port with the formation of ponds and marshes supplying malaria).

Even the road that once passed through Luni, perhaps because of this, went out of use and was replaced with a new one further upstream.
For these reasons the people of Luni preferred to move to the rapidly expanding new neighboring village of Sarzana.

In 1204 the Episcopal See was definitively transferred from Luni to Sarzana, to which the Bishops guaranteed, with their temporal power, a certain independence, before the city was submitted to the dominion of the various neighboring lords.

Castruccio Castracani, lord of Lucca, dominated the city from 1314 to 1328; after various vicissitudes, which saw the Pisans, the Visconti, the Genoese and the Florentines contend for the dominion of Sarzana, the latter, in 1487, led by Lorenzo the Magnificent, prevailed over the Genoese.

Later it returned again under the dominion of the “Superba”, first through the Banco di San Giorgio and then, in 1562, directly to the Republic of Genoa, under which it remained for two centuries.

With the annexation of Liguria to the Kingdom of Sardinia, Sarzana was also included in the Savoy territory.

During the Risorgimento he actively participated in the struggles for Independence and the Unity of Italy.

To remember, in the history of Sarzana, the date of July 21, 1921, which saw the city rise up against fascist violence; bent but not won, Sarzana renewed the anti-fascist commitment in the Liberation struggle.

In September 2019 Sarzana became part of the European Federation of Napoleonic cities.