Due to its strategic position, Sarzana has had an important role over the centuries, becoming a crossroads of communication between Liguria, Tuscany, and Emilia. An important agricultural and commercial centre since ancient times, in the Middle Ages it became a headquarters for the Bishop and the law courts. Today it still retains the image of the original medieval town, despite the fortification of its urban fabric, including the walls, the towers, the Citadel, and the massive fortress of Firmafede. Thanks to its urban plan, the village hosts some artistic jewels that range from architecture to sculpture, the buildings’ paintings, and the richness of its churches.
From the mid-sixteenth century, Sarzana has followed the ups and downs of the Republic of Genoa, until its fall in 1796, in the wake of the French Revolution and Napoleon's campaigns in Italy.
In the city centre, shortly before the Pieve di Sant' Andrea, is the tower house of the Bonaparte family, which moved here in the mid 1200s, probably coming from San Miniato. The Corsican branch of the Bonaparte family begins with the move from Sarzana, by Francesco Bonaparte. Napoleon, in his writings, notes the clear but distant descendants from Sarzana in his family.
This itinerary will lead you to discover important aspects of the military strategy of the Emperor, who paid a great deal of attention to the area, from the Gulf to the Ligurian Sea, preparing appropriate defense plans which were only partially carried out.