I have recently visited Sarzana which is located in the province of La Spezia on the border between Liguria and Tuscany and I may say that from the first it took the pastel colors, from the second its sophisticated atmosphere.
Such towns, namely Sarzana and Tellaro, receive influences from both regions and they are sort of border towns.
The mentality, the architecture and even the cuisine are an amazing ‘in between.’
center of Sarzana, cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
In the historic center of Sarzana, you can still see large sections of the historic walls with mighty towers and the two access gates: Porta Romana and Porta Parma.
I found it very pleasant to walk through the streets of the town center, which are lively even in the evening, and I stopped to observe the many stately homes as well as the religious buildings around town.
I believe that Sarzana is very laid back, as well as very lively due to the presence of cafés where one can have a drink and a chat with friends all day and almost all night long.
Wandering through the historic center of Sarzana, I was impressed by the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta which has a white marble facade with a beautiful door decorated with a colorful mosaic. Observing it you can recognize different styles ranging from the Romanesque of the bell tower to the Baroque of its interiors.
They even say there is a relic with some of Christ's blood kept in a chapel inside this small town’s cathedral.
In the same street is the Pieve di San Andrea church with its beautiful stone facade and a beautiful door in white Carrara marble adorned with caryatids.
Inside this small church I found valuable sacred art paintings and marble statues, all in Carrara marble.
But The Citadel, also known as the Firmafede Fortress, is however the most attractive attraction in town and I personally believe that the fortresses have a particular charm.
This one was built in the 15th century, on the remains of a previous fortress.
It is surrounded by a moat, now covered with grass while in the center of the internal courtyard there is a keep which may be accessed via a stone bridge.
Despite having undergone several restoration interventions over time or so I have read, by looking at it from the outside, before crossing the wide moat on a stone bridge, you remain enchanted and you feel like stepping back in time.
It is original and does not feel ‘restored.’
Today it is often the location of exhibitions and concerts just like the Fortress of Sarzanello which is located on the hill overlooking the town center and that is where the first settlement of the Ligurian town had originally been built.
The village of Tellaro is not far from Sarzana and it stretches out on a rocky spur like a boat ready to sail in the Gulf of Poets, between inlets and rocks overlooking the sea.
It is a bit off the beaten track, but it is a pearl to be discovered out of season when the beautiful sunny days make the colors of its houses vivid, just like I did.
The high season in our beautiful Liguria runs from mid-June to September.
Getting lost in the alleys that descend with steep stairways towards the sea is a way to get around the village and admire the houses with many typically Ligurian pastel colors and the ancient watchtowers.
Today only two of the original towers remain: one almost incorporated between the tower-houses of the town and the other which has become the bell tower of the Church of San Giorgio.
The steep alleys with stone arches are very characteristic and differ from those of other villages in La Spezia and this confirms its recognition as the most beautiful village in Italy.
There is an official list online with the full list of borghi (small villages) which received such endorsement.