A small brochure of my hometown Sarzana I created for the Italian Culture Day we had at the LinkedIn Dublin office. It is a beautiful medieval town located at the border of Liguria and Tuscany. I hope this will encourage you to visit!
“government and people of Luni”
The position of Sarzana at the entrance to the valley of the Magra, 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.
Today the XVI century walled suburb is almost intact with the ancient
walls and four towers, and there is an impressive number of buildings
In the outskirts, it is possible to visit other villages, sunbathe in
Marinella di Sarzana beaches or visiting the Roman ruins of Luni.
How to get here
There are regular direct flights from
Dublin to Pisa. Once in Pisa, you can
either arrive to Sarzana by train
(there is a train station at the
airport), or rent a car and take the
A10 north, direction GENOVA.
There are many reasons why you may
visit Sarzana: from the historical
interest, to the seaside, or maybe
just to be part of a cultural event
and taste the delicious cuisine
produce of the influence of many
different traditions and regions.
What to visit
● Cathedral of Santa Maria - The building is a mixture of the
Romanesque and Gothic styles, reflecting the length of the period of
its construction, from the early 13th to the late 15th century. The
cathedral is noted as the home of a relic of the Blood of Christ and of
the important Romanesque Cross of Maestro Guglielmo of 1138. It
also contains two elaborately-sculptured altars of the latter period.
● Fortezza di Sarzanello - It's an imposing military fortification
erected on the hill of Sarzana, and it overlooks the Magra Valley.
Nowadays it's one of the symbol of the town.
● The “Citadel” or Fortezza Firmafede - built by the Pisans,
was demolished and re-erected by Lorenzo de' Medici.
What to visit
● Pieve of St. Andrea - dating to the 10th-11th centuries, is the oldest
religious building in the city. It was later remade, the last time in
1579, and has a 16th century portal. In the interior marble sculptures
from the 14th-15th centuries, a Vocation of Saints by Domenico
Fiasella and a dodecagonal baptismal font. It also contains a crypt.
● Church of San Francesco - documented from 1238 and, according
to the tradition, founded by St. Francis of Assisi himself. In the
interior a frescoed lunette attributed to Priamo della Quercia.
● The streets and the piazzas of the city center - Walk through
the narrow streets, along historical buildings; enjoy the vibe of
the crowd. You can stop for a snack, a sweet treat or a gelato. During
summer nights people enjoy staying out from aperitivo
to dinner, and drinks afterwards.
What to Eat / Drink
The sarzanese answer to fast food: Vegetable Cakes,
Focaccia & Farinata (thin, unleavened pancake or crêpe
of chickpea flour), and Pizza. All wood-fired oven cooked.
Fish - In Liguria, you’re
virtually guaranteed of one
thing: local fish, caught that
day. One particular dish of
this area is Stuffed Mussels
Sgabei: leavened bread dough, cut
into strips, fried and salted on the
surface that is traditionally eaten plain
or stuffed with cheese or cold cuts.
Spongata: Roll of sweet
pastry filled with honey, dried
fruit, nuts and candied fruit.
Vermentino Ligure: Vermentino
is a Ligurian wine that received
recognition as D.O.C. Fresh and
subtle, with a hint of wildflowers
and herbs, with good intensity
and persistence. A dry wine
that goes especially well with
● end of May: International Acoustic Guitar Meeting - Held inside the Fortress
Firmafede, has become one of the most important international events dedicated to
the acoustic guitar and its music.
● mid-July: Sconfinando - International Festival of Music and Sounds from the world
● beginning of August: Soffitta nella Strada (The Attic in the Street) - antique trade
market. Walking around in the old streets you can find any kind of object, for collectors
and fans (even Gianni Versace loved the market of antique), ranging from vintage
furnishing to lithography, from unobtainable books to jewellery.
● beginning of September: Festival della Mente (Mind Festival) - event dedicated to
creativity. It brings together Italian and foreign writers, artists, musicians, architects,
film and theatre directors as well as scientists and philosophers who investigate the
nature of this most fascinating and mysterious human skill. http://portale.
● end of September: Napoleon Festival - a weekend of Napoleonic celebrations in the
Bonaparte family's birth town (yes, Sarzana!). There will be a Napoleonic market,
an historical re-enactment, a concert of period music, a ball celebrating the 150th
anniversary of Italian unification.
● Bonaparte Family
The family was from minor Italian nobility from a town near Florence. They family later
separated into two branches; and one moved to Sarzana. A member of the Sarzana
branch and ancestor to Napoleon, Francesco Buonaparte went to Corsica in 16th century
and the island was in Genoese possession.
● Pope Nicholas V
Born Tommaso Parentucelli, was Pope from 6 March 1447 until his death in 1455. The
Pontificate of Nicholas saw the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks. He is the
last pope to take the name "Nicholas" upon his election.
● Domenico Fiasella
Painter of the Baroque period, mainly active in Genoa. He was nicknamed “Il Sarzana”,
after his birthplace.
And much much more just around the corner...
● Cinque Terre
"The Five Lands" is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza,
Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and
the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is
a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
PortoVenere is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It dates back to at least the
middle of the 1st century BC. The name refers to a temple to the goddess
Venus which was sited on the promontory where the church of Peter the
Apostle now stands.
● LUNAE (Roman ruins of Luni)
Founded by the Romans in 177 BC with the name Luna, it was a military
stronghold for the campaigns against the Ligures. The Viking king
Hastings thought it was Rome when he arrived from the North and plundered
the city in 860.
Come visit Sarzana!
So what are you waiting for?