SARZANA, a town and episcopal see of Liguria, Italy, in the province of Genoa, 9 m. E. of Spezia, on the railway to Pisa, at the point where the railway to Parma diverges to the north, 59 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1901) 6531 (town); 11,850 (commune). The handsome cathedral of white marble in the Gothic style, dating from 1355, was completed in 1474. It contains two elaborately-sculptured altars of the latter period. The former citadel (now gaol), built by the Pisans, was demolished and re-erected by Lorenzo de' Medici. The castle of Sarzanello was built by Castruccio Castracani (d. 1328), whose tomb by the Pisan Giovanni di Balducci is in S. Francesco. The Palazzo del Capitano, by Giuliano da Maiano (1472), has been entirely altered. Sarzana has one of the most important glass-bottle factories in Italy, also brick-works and a patent fuel factory.
Sarzana was the birthplace of Pope Nicholas V. Its position at the entrance to the valley of the Magra (anc. Macro), the boundary between Etruria and Liguria in Roman times, gave it military importance in the middle ages. It arose as the successor of the ancient Luna, 3 m. S.E.; the first mention of it is found in 983, and in 1202 the episcopal see was transferred hither. A branch of the Cadolingi di Borgonuovo family, lords of Fucecchio in Tuscany from the 10th century onwards, which had acquired the name of Bonaparte, had settled near Sarzana before 1264; in 1512 a member of the family took up his residence in Ajaccio, and hence, according to some authorities, was descended the emperor Napoleon I. Sarzana, owing to its position on the frontier, 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.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)