La Spezia

One of the main cultural and economic centres of the Liguria region, in the middle of the Gulf of Poets and close to the Cinque Terre.

 

Stazione Ferroviaria di La Spezia

La Spezia is the main city on the Riviera di Levante, located at the heart of the famous Gulf of Poets that stretches from Lerici to the village of Portovenere. It is unusual in that – both in the city and on the outskirts – it boasts a rich historical and cultural heritage (reflected in the architecture of the buildings, monuments and museums) as well as evident signs of the economic and industrial development initiated in the 19th century thanks to the naval dockyard built on the orders of the Count of Cavour.


The city of La Spezia is characterised by broad streets that wander off amid delightful period buildings, crossing the Old Town and the squares. One of the best-known streets is Via Prione, with a large pedestrian area that links the seafront (with the Morin Walkway and with splendid views right across the Gulf of La Spezia) to the railway station. The narrow lanes and alleyways around Via Prione run through the rest of the Old Town, where visitors can admire the residences of the Doria marquises and the Massa princes, helping to maintain a typically Ligurian atmosphere.

 

A whole host of lively events are held in the city, both around the pier and the Morin Walkway area and in the rest of the centre. Some of the most important include the Palio del Golfo (on the first Sunday in August), the San Giuseppe Fair (which fills the city with stalls of all kinds towards the end of March) and the Festa della Marineria, which in October enlivens the city and highlights its seafaring tradition.


The city also boasts a huge variety of places and points of interest for both visitors and locals, and the numerous museums include the CAMeC (Museum of Modern Art), the Amedeo Lia Museum, the Naval Museum and the Museum of Seals (the only one of its kind in Italy and famous worldwide). The museums host numerous events and exhibitions throughout the year, and the impressive artistic and cultural heritage displayed in them is a testament to the historical importance of the city and the surrounding area. Another place of cultural interest is the Civic Theatre of La Spezia, built in the Old Town in the mid-nineteenth century.

Passeggiata Morin a La Spezia

 

Vie in centro di La Spezia


In addition to the museums, visitors to the city can admire a number of monuments and period buildings. The oldest of these include the Castle of San Giorgio (dating back to the mid-thirteenth century and recently restored for visitor access) and the Church of Santa Maria (also dating back to the Middle Ages and located in the Old Town of La Spezia, used in the past to host the "Parliament" of the city).

 

A further attraction of La Spezia are the Public Gardens, created in the mid-nineteenth century and adorned with a wealth of different plant species, as well as a monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Salvador Allende multi-purpose centre (which hosts an enormous variety of cultural events) and the Palco della Musica bandstand.

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