Visit Sarzana, a city of art between Liguria and Tuscany

6_May_2021Destinations

On the Ligurian side of Lunigiana, the so-called Land of the Hundred Castles, a couple of km from the border with Tuscany, a small town along the ancient Via Francigena preserves a great artistic heritage: find out what to see in Sarzana among fortresses, archaeological sites, churches and historic buildings.

Sarzana Cittadella Fortezza Firmafede

Things to see in Sarzana in 1 day

To find out what to see in Sarzana in 1 day, just walk along Via Mazzini, the urban stretch of the ancient Via Francigena overlooked by the most prestigious buildings in the city. As soon as you cross the Porta Romana, the eastern access to the medieval walls, you will have in front of you the imposing Cittadella, also known as the Firmafede Fortress, built at the end of the fifteenth century by Lorenzo the Magnificent.

Here you can visit the Museum of Fortresses, which reconstructs the history of Lunigiana and its protagonists in medieval times, and climb to the top of the ramparts to admire a unique view over the entire region.

Continuing along Via Mazzini you can visit the Church of Santa Maria, a majestic cathedral built starting from the thirteenth century with the facade covered in white Carrara marble. Inside there are numerous valuable works of art, starting with a crucifix on canvas dating back to 1138 and a painting by the seventeenth-century painter Domenico Fiasella, behind which there is an ampoule with the relics of Jesus’ blood.

A little further on you will meet the Pieve di Sant’Andrea, of medieval foundation, and you will arrive in Piazza Matteotti, the heart of the city, surrounded by historic buildings embellished with marble friezes such as the fifteenth-century Palazzo Roderio, now used as the seat of the municipal offices, and Palazzo Podestà Lucciardi, in the neoclassical style.

Sarzana Fortezza di Sarzanello

Things to see in Sarzana in 2 days

You could take an itinerary that from Porta Parma, the western access to the historic center, follows the panoramic route along the northern walls and, after passing two sixteenth-century towers, reaches the Church of San Francesco, built starting from the thirteenth century just beyond the walls. Inside you can admire numerous pictorial and sculptural works that include the reproduction of a canvas of 1528 by Andrea del Sarto, the original of which was destroyed, and the sepulchral monuments of bishop Bernabò Malaspina and the family of Castruccio Castracani, lord of Sarzana at the beginning of the fourteenth century.

At this point a suggestive walk, called the Montata di Sarzanello, could lead you to discover one of the symbols of the city: the Fortress of Sarzanello, built starting from 1493 on the homonymous hill overlooking the Magra valley. Its triangular structure, with three imposing circular bastions at the top and the keep in the center, from the top of which you can enjoy a fantastic 360-degree view, is a significant example of Renaissance military architecture. Behind the hill, connected by an avenue of plane trees, you will see the nineteenth-century Villa Podestà Lucciardi, a red-colored neo-Gothic building with four corner turrets and battlements that reflect the shapes of a medieval castle.

Sarzana old town

Things to see in Sarzana in 3 days

If you are wondering what to see in Sarzana in 3 days you could start your tour with a walk along Via Torrione Genovese, a picturesque cobbled street that retraces a stretch of the ancient southern walls. After passing the bastion of the same name, on which a sixteenth-century bas-relief depicting St. George killing the dragon is walled, you will find yourself in the heart of the historic center, among artisan shops and typical restaurants. Once in Piazza Garibaldi you can admire one of the largest marble monuments in the world: The Genius of the lineage, built in 1907 and dedicated to the popular hero of the Italian Risorgimento.

At this point it is worth taking an excursion to reach the archaeological site of Luni, where the remains of the Roman colony founded in 177 BC are preserved. of which the city of Sarzana can be considered the natural heir. Here you can visit the Great Temple, the Amphitheater and some noble residences such as the Domus of the mosaics and the Domus of the frescoes, as well as a museum with the numerous finds recovered during the excavations.

About a kilometer away from the archaeological site, on the last strip of the Ligurian coast before Tuscany, you can conclude your itinerary in Marinella di Sarzana, a seaside resort that offers about 3 km of fine sandy beaches and numerous bars and restaurants a stone’s throw from the sea.

Luni sito archeologico

Where to sleep in Sarzana and surroundings

To visit Sarzana you could set up your base in one of the holiday homes managed by the Terre del Magra community cooperative, which promotes the Co.Co.Farm 2021 project to which half of the Fairbnb.coop commissions will be donated: La Casa di Zoe or La Chicca in Fiumaretta di Ameglia and La Maestà in Ameglia. You will thus have apartments equipped with all comforts, as well as an equipped kitchen: by preparing your meals independently you can save even more money. 

Alternatively, you could opt for “The Poets’ Nest“, Thomas’s holiday apartment located on the main square of Lerici, just over 5 kilometers from Sarzana.

stazione di Sarzana

Practical information

Weather

The weather in Sarzana, a town located less than 10 kilometers from the sea and protected by the Apennine hills behind it, is favorable for most of the year. The Mediterranean-type climate offers hot and dry summers, with maximum temperatures around 30 ° C between July and August, and mild winters, with temperatures that rarely drop below 0 ° C even at night. Precipitation is mainly distributed from September to May, with peaks in the autumn months and some sporadic snowfall between December and February. Before preparing your suitcase you can check the 7-day weather forecast in Sarzana to be updated on the weather conditions upon your arrival.

Transport

Located in the center of the communication routes that connect Liguria, Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, Sarzana is easily accessible by any means of transport.

Typical products

Sarzana boasts a rich food and wine tradition based on local products, with exquisite specialties such as spungata, a cake filled with jam and dried fruit, and excellent wines such as the Colli di Luni DOC.

Particularity

The OpenSarzana Wi-Fi network, with several hot spots distributed in the historic center, allows you to surf the Internet free of charge for up to 4 hours a day.

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