La Spezia is the capital of the province of La Spezia, one of the four provinces that constitute Liguria. The city lies on the Gulf of La Spezia, also called the Gulf of the Poets, and was once an important military port.
In recent years there have been huge investments in the city, which has become a lively city, not only by the presence of tourists, but stimulated by the local population.
Since 2014 cruise ships dock in La Spezia. They stay just one day, arriving at 9 a.m. and leaving at 6 pm. This brings a whole flow of tourists, heading in the direction Cinque Terre (most by train or by boat).
The city was redone in the 19th century according to a tight geometric pattern, which still can be seen clearly on the map above.
The main arterial road is Via Chiodo, a broad boulevard along which stately 19th century palaces are built. Some of these are now used as public buildings (Post, Province House). Along a section of the Via Chiodo, you'll find high covered galleries (Porticos). Look up to see the decoration of the ceilings.
The main shopping areas are the Corso Cavour (a wide straight shopping street, which connects Via Chiodo with Piazza Cavour) and Via del Prione (a narrower, winding shopping street, which connects the Via Chiodo with the station). On the Piazza Cavour is a covered market where fresh products are sold (daily before noon).
Half way through the Via del Prione you can turn to the Piazza Sant'Agostino, a cosy square with plenty of dining options.
We were lucky to find this Villa in the hills behind La Spezia, a fantastic bed & breakfast with a great view on the bay, the city and the marine. Luxurious, and this at a very reasonable price !
With the voucher in our e-book, you get a discount of 5% on your stay (valid for a reservation of min. 3 nights in low season) or a bottle of quality wine (valid for a stay of min. 3 nights in high season).
High season from 1/6 till 30/9
(valid for reservaties via the website of Villa Amaranta. To obtain the discount you have to mention ‘Cinque Terre ++’ in their booking form. The discount will be settled on your arrival. Don't forget to show the voucher.)
The voucher is exclusively available in our e-book.
It was Napoleon who at the beginning of the 19th century discovered the strategic importance of the Gulf of La Spezia and wanted La Spezia to become a military port. In 1808 the city was by imperial decree elevated to Arsenal. In the bay the warships could hide safely. The entrance to the bay could indeed be quite easily protected from the islet Campiglia and from Lerici. With the fall of Napoleon, however, disappeared the plans for the expansion of the port.
In 1857 Cavour gathered the necessary funds for the development of an arsenal. The construction was entrusted to Domenico Chiodo. After the formation of the unitary state of Italy, in 1869, La Spezia became one of the most important military ports of the new state. If you walk through La Spezia, you will certainly encounter the names of Cavour and Chiodo.
In the same period, a long breakwater was built in the Gulf of La Spezia. It is more than 2 km long and runs from Santa Maria, in the west to Santa Teresa, in the east. In the dam are two openings, respectively 400 and 200 meters wide, which are the only accesses to the port.
For lovers of ships, the Museo Tecnico Navale della Marina Militare is definitely worth a visit. It is located next to the historic docks on the Viale Amendola and is open daily from 8:30 to 19:30.
The museum has a rich collection of historical pieces that are spread over two floors and a courtyard: cards, figureheads, medals, flags, military weapons, ... But the highlight is the more than 150 models ranging from the Roman triremes to the training ship Amerigo Vespucci.
Near the museum you can take a walk in the new marina Mirabello. There are numerous yachts that will make you dream, and there are some lovely terraces that especially in the evening attract people.
You can reach the Marina via a suspension bridge that starts on the Viale Italia (where the boats to Cinque Terre leave).
In 1927, La Spezia became an episcopal city and got the right to have a 'cathedral'. Initially, the Cathedral of S. Maria Assunta was declared as cathedral. The facade of this church is built with the typical Ligurian pattern in white and black bands. This ancient Cathedral has a very nice interior.
In 1975 the new Cathedral of Christ the King was inaugurated. It is a modern building on the Piazza Europe and it lies between the old and new districts of La Spezia.
Castello di San Giorgi is situated on a hill (Poggio) near the center of La Spezia. You can go there with some lifts (free and accessible through a side street of Via del Prione). It dates from the second half of the 14th century. Currently, you can visit the Archaeological Museum of the province of La Spezia. The museum has an important collection of 19 Statue Stele, images of some 2,000 to 3,000 years old, that were found in the Val di Vara in the 19th century. If you don't get to Pontremoli, where the main collection of Stele can be seen, you should definitely take a look here. The museum is closed on Monday afternoon and Tuesday. The entrance is 5.50 EUR.
Also take a walk on the dock of La Spezia (the Passegiata Morin), where you have a beautiful view of the Gulf.
Over the years we have spent quite some time in La Spezia, which has resulted in a lot of contacts with local entrepreneurs. If you stay in La Spezia, be sure to buy our e-book. The price is lower than the benefits you get, even when using only one of the vouchers.
Gian Paolo, the owner of Villa Amaranta, recommended us this restaurant in La Spezia. Stefano de Lisi will receive you in this restaurant, run by the famiglia de Lisi for 40 years. If you like antipasti, this is the place to be !
Address : Viale G. Amendola, 46
(close to the Museo Navale)
Tel : +39 0187 258539
Closed on tuesdays
Make a sailing trip in the Gulf of La Spezia.
Gustav Birger, a young Swede, has has turned his passion into a successful company. My Sailing Week offers trips in the Gulf of La Spezia or along the Coast of the Cinque Terre. You want to celebrate something special ? Choose for a romantic dinner at sea, spend the night on the sailing boat, or take the speedboat to Portofino !
Tel : +39 0187-730 338
Adresse : Via Felice Cavallotti 53
Yvonne, from A Pié di Mà in Riomaggiore, has now opened a new wine bar / Cantina in La Spezia. You can go there for a delicious foccacia, a pasta or just for a better wine. Wine tastings are regularly organized.
Address: Via Manin 31, La Spezia
Explore Cinque Terre in an original way? At Scooterpoint you can rent a scooter for a day, including 2 helmets, as from EUR 40.
Address : Via Urbano Rattazzi, 14, La Spezia
Tel. +39 0187 777 132 (Efren speaks Engels)
To help you prepare your trip, you can
order our travel guide, maps and a brochure.