If you have already visited at least one of the castles in Lunigiana, you will immediately notice the difference: the Sarzanello Fortress is a whole other story. If you’re familiar with the game ‘find the difference’, we can say there’s only one macroscopic difference: the cannon. Or the firearms in general, which mark a historical focal point in the design of military fortresses: pre-cannon and post-cannon.
Sarzanello dates back to before the year 1000, and references to its castrum are found in the 10th and 11th Centuries; it was also acknowledged in the 14th Century by its most illustrious resident, Castruccio di Castracani. Even so, Sarzanello as we know it today is a post-cannon fortress, designed in 1500 in order to defend against new firearms, the flagship of Renaissance military engineering.
While the castle developed vertically, Sarzanello Fortress seems held to the ground by the force of gravity. The master plan of the castle was square, while Sarzanello’s was triangular, which not only lent less sides to enemy fire, but had oblique walls and acute angles that better averted cannon shots. A fortified keep inside one of the triangular garrisons housed its commander: with walls three meters thick, wide moats and the mastermind of the defense in a safe place, Sarzanello was an unassailable fortress.
Today it can be reached by car via a gravel road, or on foot along a path that leads from the historical center of Sarzana directly to the main entrance. In addition to visiting the fortress, Sarzanello hosts a wide range of activities: contemporary art exhibits, courses in herbal medicine, painting and photography workshops, mystery dinners, Medieval reenactments and ghost hunts!
Source: Trame di Lunigiana