Sarzana (Italian pronunciation: [sarˈdzaːna]) is a town and comune in the Province of La Spezia, of Liguria, Italy, 15 km east of Spezia, on the railway to Pisa, at the point where the railway to Parma diverges to the north. In 2008 it had a population of 21,356.
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 km 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...
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