La Spezia Is a large Provincial Capital City on the coast
The unique, preserved castle complex from the 12th Century is worth a visit
The provincial capital of La Spezia is the second largest city after the main regional city of Genoa. The city lies on the eastern side of the Riviera di Levante in the region of Liguria, and is just a few kilometres away from the border with Tuscany. The former small fishing village of La Spezia became Italy’s naval base in the 19th Century.
Would you like to learn more about the Marina? Then you have to visit the Museo Tecnico Navale by all means. A very nice side benefit is that the orphans of seafarers benefit from the entrance fees. A portion of the city lying on the natural Gulf (Gulf of Poets) is part of the National Park of Cinque Terre already.
Ancient castles and villages which can be toured by bicycle are hidden in the Val di Vara in the hinterland of La Spezia along the River Vara. Whoever prefers to walk can look forward to great hiking trails through the unique natural setting.
Should you be interested in the former Fieschi fortress from the 13th Century and in hiking up to the Castello San Giorgio, then you will be able to enjoy a magnificent view over the whole of La Spezia. After a great hiking trip through the hinterland, the evening can wonderfully fade away finally in Via Napoli in the "Osteria Della Corte". It’s cozy everywhere, whether outside in the garden or inside the restaurant and you can just feel comfortable with excellent dishes and good wine.
Are you more interested in museum visits? Then Museo Civico Ubaldo in Via Curtatone next to the Museo Tecnico Navale is worth a visit. The museum houses the Lunigiana steles; these are stone figures which are also referred to as abstract cult statues of gods, ancestors statues or landmarks with astrological alignment among others.
Another museum is the Museo Amedeo Lia. One can marvel at Italian paintings from the Renaissance and medieval ages.
The St. Maria Assunta Cathedral was badly damaged during the war. Thus, the facade presently has a wide variety of architectural styles. Despite the destruction the Cathedral can still be viewed today. Inside the Cathedral is the Coronation of the Virgin with Saints of Andrea della Robbia of Florence.
Also worth seeing is the Castello di San Giorgio, which is located in the XXVII Marzo. The Museo Archeologico is an interesting and historic place, from where you can also have a great view over La Spezia, right up to the sea.
Do you love fish? Then we recommend “Il Ristorantino di Bayon “in a pleasant setting and with great atmosphere where you can enjoy it very well. The seafood gives an indication that all fish is freshly caught and cooked. In addition to various types of fish, the homemade pasta is highly recommendable.
La Spezia is the Capital City of Genoa Province and the second largest city in the region.
The city was already established in the Iron and Bronze Ages as a settlement, until the Romans colonised it and incorporated it into the infrastructure of the Roman Empire.
The city came under the rule of the Lombards in 643 and was attacked several times by pirates in the following centuries. Due to its strategic location it served as an outpost against the Republic of Genoa in the 12th Century. Because of these struggles the Castello San Georgio was built. After the conquest by Genoa, La Spezia was built in 1273 as an outpost for defense against Tuscan republics, especially Pisa.
La Spezia slowly evolved into one of the most important cities in the Liguria region and continued to grow steadily. It became part of the Ligurian Republic in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars and developed into a city in 1805 during the First French Empire.
Through the fortification of the port facility, the French Government constituted La Spezia into an administrative headquarters and turned it into a military port.
La Spezia became part of the Piedmont Kingdom in 1815 and was incorporated into the Italian Kingdom in 1861. The military port was expanded and was considered one of the most important and largest military ports in Italy. La Spezia was also connected to the Pisa-Genoa railway line.
The City was severely destroyed by air raids in the 2nd World War; military as well as civilian buildings were badly damaged. There was a slow population decline during the post-war period.
La Spezia is a town in the La Spezia Province located in the Liguria region. There are several other localities near La Spezia, for example: Codeglia (10.4 km) Arcola (9.3 km) and Memola (21.1 km). When coming from Genoa, take the highway exit to La Spezia St. Stefano and keep to the left lane, then take the exit to La Spezia.