La Spezia is a beautiful port city with an unusual location. Located on the border of Liguria and Tuscany, from where it is very close to other tourist cities such as Cinque Terre, Florence or Pisa. Moreover, it forms the very heart of the Bay of La Spezia, once called the Bay of Poets. Why this unprecedented name? It is conditioned by the incredible number of artists who flocked to La Spezia in the 19th century in search of inspiration and a better tomorrow. However, one cannot be surprised that they chose this very place, as it is undeniably extremely charming. At the time, it thrived surrounded by beautiful mountains. Today La Spezia is the site of one of Italy's largest naval bases.
Attractions and sights
Architecture of the city of la Spezia
A great advantage of this city is the variety of architecture. Here you can find exceptionally well-preserved buildings from the Italian Art Nouveau period (dating back to the turn of the 20th century, beautiful and opulent mansions) and Baroque palaces (these are accumulated more around the center). One of the most interesting architectural specimens are, for example, the Maggiani Palace or the Fumagalli-Federici Palace. An unusual opportunity is to walk along the historic Corso Cavour street and "get lost" in the maze of small and narrow alleys away from the glitz of the city center. It is there that you can feel the true atmosphere of La Spezia and see the architectural wonders of the city.
An interesting place to both see and explore more closely is the Waterfront located near the old part of the city. A walk starting from the unusual and unique white bridge Ponte Thaon di Revel allows you to admire the variety of yachts in Porto Mirabello. Its continuation through the Passeggiata Constantino Morin, surrounded by monumental palm trees, allows you to see the Gulf of La Spezia in all its beautiful splendor.
As a tourist city, La Spezia can't disappoint the youngest tour participants either. An ideal place to see with children is the Maritime Museum. At the same time, it is an extremely important place for the Italian Navy. It is located at the main entrance to the former Naval Arsenal. What can it offer us? The place is dedicated primarily to fans of militaria. The exhibition mainly includes equipment of the Italian special forces stationed in La Spezia. In addition, the exhibit includes armaments, uniforms and all equipment used by the military over the years. In addition, there are thematic exhibitions on the development of Mediterranean shipping, as well as on Italian scientists and engineers, to whom we owe many achievements in the field of naval technology. The cost of admission to this museum is about 2 euros.
Being on the topic of museums, another place worth seeing is the Seal Museum - Museo del Sigillo. This attraction is not only fascinating, but also unique - it is the only place of its kind in all of Europe! Here you can admire all kinds of seals, which over the years have been used to secure private (sometimes even secret!) correspondence from the unwanted eye. The exhibits show the diversity of such items depending on the region and era from which they came. Among the most important specimens on display are tools used to mark the secret letters of Vatican employees, as well as a collection of Asian seals. The more precious specimens are made of materials such as precious stones, bones and precious metals. It is definitely an attraction worth seeing.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. An adult admission ticket costs 3.50 euros, while the price of a discounted ticket is 2.50 euros. Interestingly, it is possible to purchase a combined ticket for 12 euros. It allows access to both the Seal Museum, but also the "Amedeo Lia" Museum, the San Giorgio Castle, the Ethnographic-Diocesan Museum and the Center for Modern and Contemporary Art within 72 hours.
Amedeo Lia Art Museum
A very characeristic place for La Spezia is the Amedeo Lia Art Museum. It is located in a completely renovated 17th century monastery that once belonged to the Minimites of St. Francis of Paola. The monastery is in a very good strategic location, where the road connecting the Bay of La Spezia to Genoa exits the walled city. In addition, interestingly, the site has always been abundant with ground water supplies. Currently on display there are works of art dating from the 13th to 18th centuries. The collection includes paintings by Tintoretto, Titian and Pietro Lorenzetti, among others. In addition to paintings, there are miniatures and objects made of copper, ivory, bronze, wood and glass.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the ticket office closing at 5:30 p.m. An adult admission ticket costs 8 euros, while a discounted ticket costs 7 euros.
San Giorgio Castle
One of the main sights of La Spezia is the Castle of San Giorgio, which was once the main defensive point of the city. Erected around the 13th century by Nicolo Fieshi, it still amazes today with its power. Although it has changed hands and been rebuilt many times since then, this only adds to its historical value and puts it in one of the first places of must-see monuments. Today, an archaeological museum is housed inside the building, where the origin of the objects on display dates back to the Bronze Age. As for the price list, the nearby area can be viewed from the terrace of the castle, where admission will be about 3.50 euros. For an additional 5.50 euros, a tour of the museum is possible.
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
Among the incredible architectural specimens of La Spezia is certainly the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. This building was constructed in the second half of the 20th century (1956-1975) and is one of the most important Christian churches. This remarkable architectural work was designed by an unconventional architect of Italian origin, Adalberto Liber. What is so amazing about this building? Much could be said about it, but the first most striking thing is its shape. The round, hyperboidal building is topped by a dome with an impressive diameter of 50 meters. The entire structure is supported by 12 columns. The interior of this Christian achievement is as interesting as its exterior. At the very center is an 18th-century crucifix. In addition, the entire interior is filled with countless works of art. Undoubtedly, this building will dull the eye of any person, no one is able to pass by it indifferently.
Beaches in La Spezia
There is something for everyone in La Spezia, so for fans of beachcombing and enjoying nature, there will also be interesting suggestions. One of them is the sizable island of Scoglio Montonaio. Unfortunately, it does not abound in the traditional yellow sand, as the coast is rather rocky. How can one get there? The ways are few and far between, and this makes the trip there itself an adventure! Of course, there are tourist boats, but if the weather is nice, hiring a kayak or motorboat will definitely be a more interesting option. The island abounds in beautiful views, which, although unusual and breathtaking, are not, however, the main tourist destination. This title may be earned by the unearthly good diving conditions. The water around the island is crystal clear, making it possible to admire the underwater world at an unprecedented distance.
La Spezia abounds with restaurants and extremely charming bazaars where you can buy local specialties. On the main street of the center - Via Prione - you can visit a huge number of restaurants, bars or cafes that offer outdoor dining.
From Monday to Saturday mornings (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) in the city center in Piazza Cavour, you can go to a local market where native residents sell fruits and vegetables from their home farms.
Fans of clothes and shoes will also find attractions. Every week on Friday mornings until 1 pm, stalls are set up along Viale Garibaldi, where you can find many fashion gems. In addition, there are also household goods.
Daily shopping can be done at Le Terrazze, located in the city center at via Fontevivo 17. It is a shopping center with restaurants, a supermarket and many clothing stores with very good price reductions. You can get here by bus, cab or walk (the walk takes about 25 minutes if your starting point was the city center).
La Spezia is a town with a huge number of local family restaurants where you can please your palate with a wide variety of specialties. Most of them offer stuffed mussels, spaghetti frutti di mare, anchovies or testaroli. Wine lovers will also find something for themselves here. Local liquor tends to be one of the simpler tasting, but their aroma and longevity are among the more enduring.
- Ristorante Roma - this place is located at via Pietro Paleocapa 18/20. Here you can enjoy a taste of authentic Italian cuisine from the region. Some of the most interesting dishes served are shrimp salmon or pasta with lobster.
- Ristorante Petronilla - the establishment in via Rebocco 11 offers many seafood dishes, as it specializes in them. The atmospheric restaurant will appeal to any lover of Italian specialties.
How to get there?
The ways to get to La Spezia are many:
- TRAINS-This is probably the best and most advantageous way to travel in Italy. Transportation of this type is extremely well developed in this country, as rail lines connect virtually every major city. La Spezia Central station is located in the center of the main railroad line connecting Genoa, Cinque Terre, Pisa and Rome With the city of La Spezia.
- BY CAR - the easiest way to get to La Spezia is by car. by highway A12 Genoa -. Livorno or A15 Parma - La Spezia.
- AIRPORT- The closest airports are Cristoforo Colombo Airport in Genoa Galileo Galilei in Pisa. The former is about 110 km from La Spezia, while the latter is 80 km from that city. In addition, there are direct trains from the Pisa airport to La Spezia, making it possible to get there efficiently and fairly quickly without having to rent a car.
- BOAT- La Spezia can be reached by sea from Cinque Terre and Portovenere. Courses are quite frequent, especially in the months of April to early November.
As you know, traveling by car involves additional fees in the form of parking lots. There are 3 main parking lots within La Spezia:
The first one is located at the La Spezia train station. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Leaving a car there will incur a fee of €1.50 per hour (during the night the price drops to €0.60 per hour). The exact address: Via Fiume 143.
The second is Piazza D'Armi. It is located a 10-minute walk from the station, at Via Giugno 637, or you can take the bus, without having to buy a ticket. This parking lot is free, which definitely works in its favor, but in the summer months, when the accumulation of people is definitely higher, finding a spot there sometimes borders on a miracle. Nevertheless, it's worth trying, because you can get lucky 🙂
The last item on the list of parking lots is Porto Mirabello. It is located in a rather picturesque area near the harbor and boats to Cinque Terre. Such a location is definitely advantageous if your next destination is to just set out to explore Cinque Terre. This parking lot is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The fee you have to pay is 0.60 euros per hour or, in case of a long stay, 12 euros for 24 hours. This parking lot is located at Viale Giovanni Amendola 2.
La Spezia's location is definitely conducive to all kinds of excursions into the surrounding countryside. For many, it is the starting point for trips to the Cinque Terre, which is well connected by train lines. Throughout the year there are many trains that depart, in fact, every few minutes. In addition, La Spezia is a city from which it is quick and easy to reach other destinations such as Florence, Pisa and Genoa. Because of this, you can find many accommodations within the city, which are largely very affordable. Their location is also extremely favorable, with most located near the train station or in the old town. We can count among them:
- Hotel Albergo Venezia - an unusual property located 70 meters from the main railroad station, just near the shopping district. The atmosphere of this hotel will appeal especially to those who prefer rooms that are functional and modernly decorated.
- Hotel Fireze e Continentale - this hotel is also located near the train station, allowing you to quickly get to Cinque Terre, for example. This place offers all amenities even for the most demanding customers.
- Hotel le Ville Relais - from the window of the apartment you can enjoy extremely picturesque views of the bay of La Spezia, at the same time this hotel is located only 10 minutes from the center, which puts it in an extremely high position among hotels in this city. In addition to accommodations, the property offers all amenities such as private jacuzzis, elegant restaurants, and professional service. Nearby is the rental Boats that can easily take you to Cinque Terre.
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