Napoleon Festival in Sarzana

In History, Travel ideas
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You probably know that the historic Buonaparte family, made famous by Napoleon I, was French with Italian origins. But did you know where exactly they lived for centuries before moving to Corsica? Their home was in Sarzana, the medieval village in the Lunigiana area between Liguria and Tuscany. Here, the ancestors of Napoleon Bonaparte took over important roles in the city life, befriending prominent figures such as Cardinal Filippo Calandrini, Marquis Malaspina and the great humanist and founder of the Vatican library, Pope Nicholas V. This is why, the lovely town of Sarzana will celebrate the 250th anniversary of Napoleon’s birth with a special edition of the Napoleon Festival, which takes place from 7 to 22 September 2019.


The previous editions of the festival were already picked up by some international media, who praised Sarzana’s historic re-enactment of Napoleon’s era. But in 2019, the Rievocazione Storica will be particularly special. It will take place over two days, on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September. On the first day, there will be different events. For example: at 9am you can visit the troop’s camp at Fortezza Firmafede; at 10am you can follow the troops’ parade from the fortress to Piazza Matteotti; at 5pm there is the homage to the 250th anniversary of Napoleon’s birth with different historical characters involved; while at 9pm there is a beautiful ball in the square with Modena’s ‘Estense’ dance group. Sunday is all about the historical re-enactment of a battle along the streets of Sarzana. Make sure to be there at 10am so that you don’t miss the action! The event ends with the troops’ parade back to Fortezza Firmafede.


Sarzana Napoleon Festival also includes other interesting events, most noticeably the theater show called “Napoleon 1er: Quel roman que sa vie!” on Friday 13 September at 9:15pm at Teatro degli Impavidi. The play mixes history and music, with actors and singers all dressed in 1st-Empire-style clothes. The show is created and interpreted by the delegation of the Souvenir Napoleonien of Nizza and Alpi Marittime. 37 singers and 3 soloists (two sopranos and a baritone), and arias from the music of Catel, Méhul and Paisiello will narrate the life of Napoleon Buonaparte.

Other events in occasion of Sarzana’s Festival include the exhibit called “Napoleon’s Selfies”, dedicated to the commemorative medals that were minted in the period between the French Revolution and the Restoration. This exhibition, along with the one of Napoleon’s Death Mask, is visible until 22 September at Torrione Genovese.

See you in Sarzana, just a 40-minute drive away from Portovenere in the Gulf of Poets!

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