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Introducing La Spezia

It's an understandable oversight. Situated minutes to the east of Cinque Terre by train, the hard-working port town of La Spezia is routinely overlooked. If you happen to get delayed, give it a once-over: it's home to Italy's largest naval base, where echoes of Genoa ring through the narrow winding streets of the Old Town. Not surprisingly, La Spezia has some cosy trattorias showcasing the standard Ligurian delicacies of wine, bread and pesto sauce.

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) open to the public.