Palazzo Roderio / Town Hall

The first designs for the Town Hall were drawn up in 1466, but work on it was repeatedly brought to a halt by the frequent conflicts between the powers vying for control of Sarzana. The construction work was completed in 1554, after substantial changes had been made to the original Florentine design in order to introduce forms that were more in keeping with Genoese traditions. The arcade on Piazza Luni dates back to the early 19th century, as does the balcony supported by two columns that is directly above the main door and looks out onto Piazza Matteotti. On the front of the building there are five windows on the piano nobile, with floral patterns adorning the exterior of the attic above it. The entrance leads to a large, square courtyard surrounded by a marble colonnade that supports loggias on the floor above. Inside it are pieces of columns, capitals and plinths from Luni, as well as the magnificent tomb of the jurist Benedetto Celso, who died in 1537. The tomb has been moved a number of times over the years. Originally located in the Dominican monastery (a building that was subsequently incorporated in the Teatro degli Impavidi), it was later dismantled and rebuilt in the town hall. The walls are decorated with an old marble coat of arms of the town of Sarzana and coats of arms of the Podestà family, who governed the town. In a design feature typical of 16th century Genoese buildings, the same columns that can be seen elsewhere line the elegantly shaped staircase in a small, stocky form and match its inclination. Upstairs, on the wall alongside the entrance to the council chamber is a 16th century bas-relief showing Saint George killing the dragon. The council chamber on the piano nobile has three windows looking out onto the square. It has a cloister vault ceiling and contains portraits of illustrious figures from Sarzana (Pope Nicholas V, Cardinal Filippo Calandrini, the jurist Francesco Cicala, and the Jesuit Nicolò Mascardi). In one of the adjacent rooms is a copy (the original has been moved to the Diocesan Museum) of a painting on canvas by Stefano Lemmi that came from the Oratory of the Santissima Trinità and shows the Holy Trinity with the Virgin Mary, Saint Andrew and Saint Nicodemus. The outline of Sarzana can be seen in the background of the painting, complete with Sarzanello Fortress and the bell towers of the Parish Church of Sant’Andrea and the Cathedral of Santa Maria.