A bit of history

The name of SARZANA was mentioned for the first time in a diploma of Emperor Otto I in 963, which recognised to Bishop Adalbert of Luni the possession of the 'Castrum Sarzanae', located more or less where the Sarzanello Fortress stands today. This 'castrum', a castle or, more realistically, a small fortified village, must have had the function of controlling the important roads along the valley floor due to its strategic position.

In the following years, presumably around the year 1000, the actual settlement of Sarzana was formed further downstream, at the junction of the Aurelia with the road to Parma and Piacenza. The birth and development of the village are probably to be related to the decadence of nearby Luni, which was rapidly depopulating due to changed living conditions: the sea had receded considerably, distancing itself from what had been a large port with the formation of ponds and marshes that caused malaria.

For many years, the city was under the rule of the most powerful families of the time. From 1314 to 1328, Sarzana was under the control of Castruccio Castracani, lord of Lucca; after alternating events, which saw the Pisans, the Viscontis, the Genoese and the Florentines contend for the command of Sarzana, the latter, in 1487, led by Lorenzo the Magnificent, got the better of the Genoese. Later, the city returned under the rule 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. Finally, with the annexation of Liguria to the Kingdom of Sardinia, Sarzana too was included in Savoy territory.

For Sarzana's more recent history, we must remember the date of 21 July 1921, when the town rose up against fascist violence; defeated but not defeated, Sarzana renewed its anti-fascist commitment in the Liberation struggle.