is a town
and comune in the Province of La Spezia
, of Liguria
, 15 km east of Spezia
, on the railway
, at the point where the railway to Parma
diverges to the north. In 2004 it had a population of 20,180.
Sarzana has one of the most important glass-bottle factories in Italy. There are also brick-works and a fuel factory.
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 diplom 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.
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 1512 a member of the family (Francesco Buonaparte, who died in 1540) permanently took up residence in Ajaccio, becoming the founder of the Corsican line of Buonapartes and hence a direct forebear of Sebastiano Nicola Buonaparte. He in turn was the great-grandfather of the emperor Napoleon I (who was born in Corsica in 1769).