Introducing La Spezia
The big, bustling working city of La Spezia is a complete contrast to the surrounding coastal villages and rural hinterland. Situated 100km southeast of Genoa, the city sits at the head of the Gulf of La Spezia – also referred to as the Gulf of Poets after Byron, Dante, DH Lawrence, Shelley, George Sand and others who sought inspiration along the gulf’s shores.
In the mid-19th century, the construction of Italy’s largest naval base here introduced the large street grid and venerable public buildings that define the city today, as well as a still-significant naval presence. As the provincial capital, La Spezia has a spate of museums, including a renowned fine arts museum.
La Spezia’s bustle peaks on 19 March, the feast day of the city’s patron saint, San Giuseppe (St Joseph). Celebrations see a giant market fill the port and surrounding streets, and the naval base (off limits the rest of the year) opens to the public for the day.
La Spezia destination guides
Explore the stunning Cinque Terre along a series of 15th century footpaths
Small-Group Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence
Fall in love with the Cinque Terre, Italy’s breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage-listed coastal region on this full-day trip from Florence. With a small and intimate group of no more than 16 people, you’ll tour Cinque Terre’s cliff-side fishing villages, enjoy a 3-course Italian lunch and take part in additional sightseeing activities with your expert local guide.