In this episode of "Walking through Italy", you will discover Sarzana. Here an important artist was born, Domenico Fiasella, who left his greatest works in his town, and even Napoleon is of Sarzanese origins.
A lot of times I went to Sarzana, since its closeness to the place where I live, but each one it is worth to be seen carefully.
Very large is its main square, Piazza Matteotti, which is surrounded by palaces of different periods. In the middle of it, a monument realized by Carlo Fontana, a sculptor from Sarzana, stands, representing the winged wounded Victory, called also "Procellaria", as a memorial to the fallen of all the wars.
In the past, instead of it, there was a column with at its top saint George and the dragon by Matteo Civitali. It recalled to memory the capture of the town by the "Banco di san Giorgio".
One of the palaces which overlook this square is the Town Hall in Renaissance style; at the beginning of the 16th century, it was modified in a way that recalled some Genoese palaces, such as the Doria Palace.
Another one is the Podestà palace, constructed in the 19th century in neoclassic style and it was designed by Carlo Barabino, the architect who projected also the Carlo Felice theatre of Genoa.
On the contrary, the theatre of Sarzana, the Impavidi, mixes neoclassic and eighteenth-century elements and it is the older example of theatre that rised as "laic temple" of the middle-class of the end of the 19th century, which wanted to emerge in the town.
Religious centres are the two most important churches of Sarzana: the cathedral of Santa Maria and the parish church of Sant'Andrea.
The first one is an imposing building covered by white marble in Romanesque-Gothic style. In its interior, you can admire wonderful and very important works, such as the Crucifix by Maestro Guglielmo (1138), painted on canvas stuck on a wooden panel, the older example of this kind, and some of the most beautiful works by Domenico Fiasella, an artist from Sarzana, such as the "Glory of the Precious Blood", the "Martyrdom of saint Andrew", the "Slaughter of the Innocents" and the "Visitation", which shows besides Mary and Elizabeth, also Saint Joseph with the donkey; while the parish church of S.Andrea is the older holy building of the town.
In the centuries, Sarzana has always been very desired because of its geographical position, therefore its rulers had to defend it with fortifications, which are still now visible and visitable: the Fortress of sarzanello and the Firmafede Fortress, where many events take place, such as the "Acoustic Guitar Meeting", one of the most important acoustic guitar festivals in the world, definitely worth a visit!
Another particular event is the Napoleon Festival (held usually in September) in which a battle of that time is recreated through the street of the town, even using cannons. All this to remember the Sarzanese origins of the Napoleon's family.