Palazzo Massa - Neri
The building is on the main street in Sarzana, opposite the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. It was once a convent of the Order of Saint Clare that was part of a complex of religious buildings around the cathedral. In the first half of the 19th century, Napoleon’s suppression of religious orders meant that the premises changed hands and were used for other purposes. Before it became Palazzo Neri, the convent was initially converted into a hotel called the “Locanda della Posta”. In 1839, Napoleon’s niece Charlotte Bonaparte died in childbirth while she was staying in one of the rooms in the hotel. This unfortunate event was probably one of the contributing factors that led to the establishment closing. The following year, in 1840, the building was bought by a very wealthy man from Sarzana called Pietro Neri, who dedicated his life to restoring it.
The name of this building means “Bishop’s Palace” and it bears witness to the long process of the base of the local bishop’s power shifting from Luni to Sarzana, which began in 1204 and finally ended in 1405. That was when the Church of Santa Maria Assunta was elevated to become the Cathedral of the Diocese, thanks to the determined efforts of Cardinal Filippo Calandrini. He was the maternal half-brother of Tommaso Parentucelli of Sarzana, the first bishop of the Diocese of Luni-Sarzana. The building was completed in July 1476, as can be seen from the marble inscription that still tops the entrance arch today, despite the substantial changes that have subsequently been made to it.
Palazzo Magni - Griffi - Lamotte
There is a classical style to the architecture of this late 19th century building, whose four floors are divided by slender cornices on the majestic façade. The smooth-faced rustication on the ground floor is broken up by large rectangular windows that are protected by sturdy wrought iron bars. Fluted pilasters line the attractive central doorway, which leads to a large atrium with a marble flight of stairs. With light flooding into it from the inner courtyard, it is one of the most graceful and spectacular entrances in the aristocratic homes of Sarzana.