Due to the elections that took place on the same weekend, the 2022 edition of the Sarzana’s historical re-enactment of Napoleon’s era was rescheduled to April 15 and 16, 2023. Therefore, save the date for your visit to Sarzana with troops of hundreds of actors parading on the streets, building camps, and firing guns in the representation of a Napoleonic war battle.
Sarzana is a very realistic scenery for the re-enactment, as it preserves the structures of the time and is an essential place for Napoleon’s dynasty.
THE BONAPARTE FAMILY, SARZANESE BY CHOICE
Some are born in Sarzana and love it for life, while others choose Sarzana as their place. The latter is the case of the Bonaparte family.
According to a tradition accepted and apparently supported by Napoleon, the Bonaparte originated in Florence. At the time of the wars between the Guelphs and Ghibellines sided with the Ghibellini. In the thirteenth century, when the Guelphs took control of Florence, the Bonapartes were thus forced into exile.
The exile took them first to San Miniato, then to Sarzana. In the town’s historical documents, the first Bonaparte quoted is Gianfardo, who registered as a Bonapars. However, the family tree reconstruction is very uncertain. The link with the Bonaparte family might have been forced by Napoleone, who desperately sought aristocratic legitimacy.
FROM SARZANA TO CORSICA: AN ASCENT DUE TO IMPORTANT WEDDINGS
Gianfardo Bonaparte – founder of the Bonaparte family in Sarzana – was a notary very active in the thirteenth century in Sarzana. The same activeness can be found in his most famous descendant.
Decade after decade, and thanks to well-chosen weddings, the Bonaparte gained more and more power. They intermarried with the Calandrini family, which could count a Pope in it (Nicholas V Tommaso Parentuccelli), and with the Malaspina (thanks to the marriage between Caesar and Bonaparte Apollonia Verrucola). Now a prominent family of Genoese origins, the Bonaparte moved gradually to Corsica, first in Bastia, where Giovanni Buonaparte became city regent, and finally in Ajaccio. In 1510 Francesco Buonaparte covered an essential role in the Banco di San Giorgio.
All the possessions of Bonaparte in Sarzana were abandoned in 1567.
CASA BONAPARTE, FACING THE STREET OF THE EVENING STROLL IN SARZANA.
Although history has brought Bonaparte far to dominate France and the world, something of the link between the family and Sarzana stayed.
It is the same Napoleon to tell – during his exile – the family’s origins of his doctor by referring to the sarzanese life as a fundamental step for the dynasty (Memoires du Docteur F. Antommarchi, ou Les Derniers moments de Napoléon, Saint Helena, 1819-182).
“The last of my ancestors who lived in Tuscany had the same principles I profess. They defended them like me, and as I, were victims. The alien faction won; The National Party was defeated and banished; Bonaparte sought asylum in Sarzana, then Corsica. But family relations were not broken”.
In the streets of Sarzana, instead, the house of the Bonapartes remains. The Bonaparte tower house is located in the first section of the central Via Mazzini,