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The name of Sarzana appeared for the first time in a diploma of Emperor Ottone I dated 19th May 963, in which he recognized to the Bishop of Luni the possession of the “Castrum Sarzanae”, that stands where now there is the Fortress of Sarzanello; this “castrum”, castle or, more realisticly a small fortified village, for its strategic position should have the function of controlling the main roads in the valley floor.

In the following years, around 1000, in the valley where there was the crossing of Aurelia road with the road to Parma and Piacenza, the real centre of Sarzana developed.

The raising and development of Sarzana can be, probably, put in relation with the decay of the near Luni, that in those years was becoming depopulated because of the changing of the geographic conditions (the sea has retired more and more from that it has been one of the most important port and a lot of ponds and marshes had created, spreading malaria).

Also the road that passed by Luni was no more used and was substituted by one which was more up hill. For all these reasons the inhabitants of Luni preferred to move to the near and new village of Sarzana.

In 1204 the Diocese, finally, moved from Luni to Sarzana, the bishops, with their temporal power, granted great indipendance to it, before the town was under the domain of the different nearby Masters.

Castruccio Castracani, Master of Lucca, dominated the town from 1314 to 1328; after changing fortunes in which the Pisans, the Visconti, the Genoeses, the Florentines contended for the domain of Sarzana, the last ones, led by Lawrence the Magnificent, in 1487, had the better of the Genoeses. After it was again under the domain of Genoa, first under the Bank of St. George and then, in 1562, directly under the Republic of Genoa for about two centuries.
With the annexation of Liguria to the Reign of Sardegna, also Sarzana became part of the Savoy domains.

During the Risorgimento it took an active part in the fights for Indipendence and the Unity of Italy.

To remember, in the history of Sarzana, the date of 21st July 1921, in which the town raised up against the fascist violences; bent but not won, Sarzana renewed its anti-fascist commitment in the fight for Liberation.

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© Comune di Sarzana
Last update
Aprile 4, 2008
Francesco Tacconi consulente ICTRealizzazione
Marco Arfanotti e Francesco Tacconi