Sarzana, (La Spezia)

Sarzana (Italian pronunciation: [sarˈdzaːna]) is a town and comune in the Province of La Spezia, of Liguria, Italy, 15 kilometres (9 mi) east of Spezia, on the railway to Pisa, at the point where the railway to Parma diverges to the north. In 2010 it had a population of 21,978. History The position of Sarzana at the entrance to the valley of the Magra (ancient Macra), the boundary between Etruria and Liguria in Roman times, gave it military importance in the Middle Ages. The first mention of the city is found in 983 in a diploma of Otto I; in 1202 the episcopal see was transferred from the ancient Luni, 5 kilometres (3 mi) southeast, to Sarzana. Sarzana, owing to its position, changed masters more than once, belonging first to Pisa, then to Florence, then to the Banco di S. Giorgio of Genoa and from 1572 to Genoa itself. These changes left in Sarzana a conspicuous fortress, which remains a focus of attraction for people interested in military history and specifically in the history of fortifications (see Star fortress). In 1814 it was assigned to the Kingdom of Sardinia, the frontier between Liguria and Tuscany being now made to run between it and Carrara. Sarzana was the birthplace of Pope Nicholas V in 1397. A branch of the Cadolingi di Borgonuovo family, Lords of Fucecchio in Tuscany from the 10th century onwards, which had acquired the name of Buonaparte, had settled near Sarzana before 1264. In 1512 a member of the family (Francesco Buonaparte, who died in 1540) permanently took up residence in Ajaccio, becoming the founder of the Corsican line of Buonapartes and hence a direct forebear of Sebastiano Nicola Buonaparte. He in turn was the great-grandfather of the emperor Napoleon I (who was born in Corsica in 1769). In 1921 Sarzana was the seat of fights between the population and Fascist squads (Italian: Fatti di Sarzana). During them, a small group of Carabinieri and, alter, simple citizens opposed and pushed back some 300 armed Fascists who had come to devastate the town, killing some of them. During the German occupation of Italy in World War II, Sarzana was a center of partisan resistance. Main sights The noteworthy cathedral of white marble in the Gothic style, dating from 1355, was completed in 1474. It contains two elaborately-sculptured altars of the latter period. The former citadel, built by the Pisans, was demolished and re-erected by Lorenzo de' Medici. The Castle on the hill of Sarzanello was built or enlarged by the condottiero Castruccio Castracani. It is located on the site of a fortress existing here from as early as the reign of emperor Otto I, and was later a residence of the bishops of Luni. Pieve of Sant'Andrea, dating to the 10th-11th centuries. It was later remade, the last time in 1579, and has not a 16th-century portal. In the interior has marble 14th-15th centuries marble sculptures, a Vocation of Saints by Domenico Fiasella and a dodecagonal baptismal font. Church of San Francesco, documented from 1238 and, according to the tradition, founded by St. Francis of Assisi himself. In the interior, on the Latin cross plan, is the funerary monument of Castruccio Castracani's son, by Giovanni di Balduccio (1328) and the tomb of bishop Bernabò Malaspina, as well as a frescoed lunette attributed to Priamo della Quercia. The Palazzo del Capitano was designed by Giuliano da Maiano (1472), but is now entirely altered. International relations Sister cities / twin towns Villefranche de Rouergue, France Eger, Hungary Climate The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Csb"(Mediterranean Climate). References This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. Cathedral of Sarzana ^ Harris, J., "Sarzana and Sarzanello - Transitional Design and Renaissance Designers", Fort (Fortress Study Group), No. 37, 2009, pp. 50-78 ^ Climate Summary for Sarzana, Italy