The 17 best sights of La Spezia – description and photos

17 La Spezia sights worth seeing

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La Spezia is the most important port city on the west coast of Italy, close to Pisa, Genoa and Florence. The city’s port serves as a terminus for many Mediterranean cruise ships, and passengers on those ships often stop at La Spezia before heading to other cities in the Liguria region.

La Spezia is one of the most popular tourist destinations. People come to La Spezia to admire the historic buildings, beautiful landscapes, and the venues for sightseeing. Its location makes it an ideal place to stay if you want to explore Liguria and Tuscany.

The coastal area

Morin Embankment

Morin Waterfront.

La Spezia is a strategically important port on the west coast of Italy, and it goes without saying that this city has a fantastically beautiful waterfront. The waterfront area, which is adjacent to the historic center of the city on one side and the port of Mirabello on the other, is a wonderful place to walk, especially in good weather.

The central part is taken up by the tree-lined Morin promenade, which offers a magnificent view of the harbor. Several artificial bays and canals were once created in the coastal area, which provide a great opportunity to see the anchoring and departure of various commercial and passenger vessels. Why bother with unnecessary words? Just head to the seafront and enjoy the magnificent views!

Address: Passeggiata Costantino Morin, La Spezia, Italy.

Naval Technical Museum

Naval Technical Museum

Naval Technical Museum.

Located west of Porto Mirabello and the waterfront, the Naval Technical Museum is considered one of the best museums of its kind in all of Italy. It is a truly fascinating place that will not leave indifferent neither adults nor children.

The main objective of the Naval Museum is to introduce visitors to the Italian Navy’s equipment and its technical aspects. The museum also tells you the history of the Italian Navy. You will find a variety of interesting exhibits, including guns, diving suits, model ships and even control panels from battleships.

Address: Technical Naval Museum of Spezia, Viale Giovanni Amendola, La Spezia, Italy.

Via delle Prione

Via del Prione

Via delle Prione.

Streets in the center of La Spezia, according to the urban layout, are intersecting straight lines. But they are all located at different heights, which inevitably means there are many staircases.

The Via del Prione, which divides the old city into two parts, was no exception. This pedestrian street “draws” a straight line from the port to the road to Genoa and the history of the past 800 years is reflected in some of the buildings that stand along it. Today Via del Prione is the commercial center of La Spezia.

Address: Via del Prione, La Spezia, Italy.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre.

To visit Liguria and not get a glimpse of the idyllic landscapes of Cinque Terre would be a huge omission on your part. Cinque Terre is an internationally renowned stretch of coastline near La Spezia and is home to a number of splendid villages nestled against the coastline and cliffs.

The most famous settlements in the area, Vernazza, Manarola, Riomaggiore and Monterosso al Mare, look like toy towns. Their delightful houses, which cascade down to the shoreline, are painted in a myriad of colors. Guided tours are available for visitors to Cinque Terre. This stretch of coast, famous for its fantastic scenery, can be reached from the center of La Spezia by bus or by train.

Address: Cinque Terre, La Spezia, Italy.

Church of Santa Maria Assunta

Santa Maria Assunta Church

Church of Santa Maria Assunta.

The Church of Santa Maria Assunta is one of the most important and recognizable churches in La Spezia. It began to be built in the fifteenth century, but was completed, strangely enough, only in 1954: for five centuries the basilica was constantly rebuilt and reconstructed.

The facade of Santa Maria Assunta is finished in green and white striped marble, making it similar to other churches in the city. The interior of the church is decorated with magnificent marble statues of prominent religious figures and beautiful historical paintings.

Address: Chiesa Cattolica Parrocchiale S. Maria Assunta, Via della Canonica, La Spezia, Italy.

Castel San Giorgio

San Giorgio Castle

The Castel of San Giorgio.

The Castle of San Giorgio, which has stood on the land for hundreds of years, is one of the main attractions of La Spezia. Originally this castle, built in the thirteenth century by Niccolò Fieschi and having the typical square design of the time with four diagonal watchtowers, was part of the city’s defensive fortification network.

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The castle can be found on the winding Via XXVII Marzo. By the way, part of the original wall has survived to this day, in particular the arch under which the road “dives”. The castle now houses the Archaeological Museum, which contains various finds from this region of Italy, dating back to the Copper Age and the time of Roman settlement.

Address: Castello San Giorgio in La Spezia, La Spezia, Italy.

Porto Venere Regional Natural Park

Basilica of San Pietro

Church of San Pietro.

On the shores of the Ligurian Sea, just west of La Spezia, opposite the island of Palmaria is the small port of Porto Venere. It is part of the natural park of the same name. Palmaria is actually also included in the borders of the park, in addition, the islands of Tino and Tinetto are also within the park, but the mainland part of the park is considered particularly beautiful.

You can climb the mountain slopes just behind the port to enjoy stunning views of the Gulf of La Spezia and see the remains of Forte del Muzzerone. Next to the beautiful huts on the slope, Doria Castle proudly rises. If you wish, you can go to the islands of Tino and Tinetto and see their magnificent caves and the ancient statue of Stella Maris.

Address: Parco Naturale Regionale di Porto Venere, Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, Portovenere, La Spezia, Italy.

Isle of Palmaria

Boat trip around the island of Palmaria

Boat excursion around the island of Palmaria.

At the southernmost edge of the Gulf of La Spezia you can find the island of Palmaria. The rich and interesting flora and fauna of this island make it worth visiting and exploring. The coastline of Palmaria is impressive.

There are several hidden caves in the coastal cliffs, among which the Marble Caves and the Blue Caves deserve special attention. Also on the island you will find several picturesque pebble beaches where fishing boats dock.

The best way to see the fantastic landscape of Palmaria is to take a boat tour around the island. In summer you can reach Palmaria by ferry from La Spezia or Lerici, stopping on the north side of the island. For an escape from the noise of the city, head to Palmaria and you will not regret it!

Address: Isola Palmaria, Portovenere, La Spezia, Italy.

Biassa Village

Biassa Village

Biassa Village | Photo: madatticbertha / Flickr.

Biassa, just a few kilometers from the center of La Spezia, is a charming village with only 650 people. If you want a glimpse of the life of a typical Ligurian village, you will not find a better place than Biassa: the village has remained almost untouched by civilization and it still maintains a traditional way of life.

Biassa offers a fantastic view of the surrounding countryside and within walking distance are the ruins of the unfinished castle of Coderone. You will also find the splendid church of San Martino with its Romanesque façade and beautiful wood-carved interior. Biassa is on the way from La Spezia to Cinque Terre. A stop here will not only serve you for relaxation, but this charming village also has a lot to offer.

Address: Biassa, La Spezia, Italy.

Public Garden

Public Garden

Public Garden.

As you stroll through the historic center of the city, you’re sure to see a beautiful park stretching next to the Morin promenade. The community gardens cover an extensive area, with paths sheltered from the scorching sun by the shade of magnificent trees. In addition to charming walkways, you’ll find several monuments, statues and fountains. You won’t find a nicer place to relax in La Spezia!

Address: Giardini Pubblici, La Spezia, Italy.

The bridge of Taon di Revelle

Taon di Revelle Bridge

The Taon di Revelle Bridge.

There are many beautiful structures and interesting monuments on the waterfront and harbor, but the Taon di Revelle is undoubtedly one of the most notable. This elegant, modern pedestrian bridge, supported by rows of white cables, connects part of the harbor and leads from the public gardens to Porto Mirabello.

The central section of the bridge is capable of being raised to allow larger vessels to enter the harbor. You can admire Taon di Revel itself while strolling along the promenade. And if you walk across the bridge to the middle, you will find that it too offers beautiful views.

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Address: Ponte Thaon di Revel, La Spezia, Italy.

Lerici city

Lerici Town

City of Lerici | Photo: Luca Galli / Flickr.

On the opposite side of La Spezia you will find the beautiful coastal town of Lerici. It is located only 8 km from La Spezia. You can get there by car on the scenic coastal road SP331 or by boat from Portovenere.

The view of the harbour is absolutely fascinating; one can spend hours gazing at the hundreds of fishing boats and sailing boats anchored off the coast and watching the locals go about their daily business.

The harbor is not the only place in Lerici that deserves your attention. Be sure to check out Lerici Castle and the main square in Via Giuseppe Mazzini, and visit the local beach. If you decide to stay in Lerici all day, there are a number of restaurants and cafes on the coast.

Address: Lerici, La Spezia, Italy.

Church of Our Lady of the Snows

Church of Our Lady of the Snows

Church of Our Lady of the Snows.| Photo: wikimedia.

The Church of Our Lady of the Snows, located in the center of La Spezia, on Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, continues the theme of green and white striped exteriors so popular in these parts. The church is flanked by two small bell towers, and the main entrance is decorated with intricate sculptures.

Although the Church of Our Lady of the Snows looks like it was built during the Renaissance, it was not actually erected until the 19th century (the first time it was opened to parishioners was in 1901).

Address: Parrocchia Santuario Nostra Signora della Neve, Via Roma, La Spezia, Italy.

City of Amella.

Castle of Amella

Castle of Amella. | Photo: wikimedia.

Located on the slopes of the Apuan Alps, in the valley of the mouth of the Magra River, the small village of Amella is tightly “nestled” in its old castle and round tower. Amella is surrounded by Montemarcello, Bocca di Magra and Fiumaretta, small towns like itself.

All this is the Montemarcello-Magra Natural Park of 4,320 hectares. The park offers river walks and many interesting but challenging hiking trails. After trying your hand at hiking, head to Locanda Pescarino for a well-deserved plate of beet gnocchi with blue cheese and broccoli and a dessert of puff pastry with whipped cream and strawberries.

The address is Ameglia, La Spezia, Italy.

Appenino Tosco-Emiliano National Park

Tosco-Emiliano Appennino National Park

Appenino Tosco-Emiliano National Park.

Located about 40 minutes north-east of La Spezia, the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers alike.

The territory of the park is mostly mountainous terrain, with high mountain meadows, hidden lakes and the peaks known to many – Monte Prado, Monte Cusna and Alpe di Succiso. The wild forests of Appennino Tosco-Emiliano are home to wolves, deer and even golden eagles. The area is great for hiking and biking and, of course, just to admire the fantastic scenery.

Address: Riserva MAB Appennino Tosco-Emiliano, Via Val D’enza, Vetto, Reggio Emilia, Italy.

The fountain in Piazza Garibaldi

The fountain in Piazza Garibaldi

The fountain in Piazza Garibaldi.

Piazza Garibaldi is a relatively new square located at the intersection of Via del Prione and Via Garibaldi. A distinctive feature of the square is the fountain created in white Carrara marble by sculptor Villano Tarabella of Pietrasanta.

The fountain sculpture depicts two fluttering sails, which should serve as a sign of respect for La Spezia’s maritime roots. If you look at the sculpture at a certain angle, the two sails merge in the shape of a heart.

Address: Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, La Spezia, Italy.

Breakwater

Seaport of La Spezia.

Seaport of La Spezia.

Between 1873 and 1879, a breakwater of 2.2 km was built between the Capes Santa Maria and Santa Teresa. It was built for defensive purposes: the breakwater allowed the military to easily control the two narrow passages that gave access to ships and boats to La Spezia harbor. After the construction of the breakwater, it was decided to build a seaport in La Spezia.

Address: Guardia Costiera Capitaneria di Porto La Spezia, Largo Michele Fiorillo, La Spezia, Italy.

16 colorful sights of La Spezia, Italy

La Spezia

In Italy, in the east of Liguria, in the Gulf of Poets or the Gulf of La Spezia, lies the city of La Spezia. The first mention of it dates back to 1256. In the Middle Ages it was an important trading center. Now it has the status of a popular tourist city in the country. The climate here is Mediterranean, so there is no heat and cold. Every year there are boat races, fairs, festivals, beaches, and many attractions. The city is interesting to see both lovers of outdoor activities and connoisseurs of unique attractions, as well as the beauty of nature.

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What sights to see in La Spezia in 1 day

Building density of La Spezia

La Spezia has a high density of buildings

All attractions in La Spezia, due to the small size of the city, are close to each other. For example, the Ethnographic Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, are within walking distance of each other. The Church of Santa Maria Assuanta, on the other hand, is a few steps away.

The castles are not in the center of the city, but even so, the hike to them will not be long. It is worth considering that despite the small size of many of the museums, there are a lot of exhibits in them.

Churches and castles will impress you with their unique beauty and you can’t just run through all the halls. With a few days to spare, there is so much to see. Naturally, there are professional guides who can arrange tours. You can do everything yourself, based on your needs and time.

What to visit in the surrounding area

Near La Spezia you can see many places, a visit to which will leave strong positive impressions. One of these places is the Cinque Terre National Park, a UNESCO cultural heritage site.

Cinque Terre National Park

Cinque Terre National Park is only 5 km from La Spezia

It is no less interesting to visit the Port of Venus. Medieval streets and ancient towers. It is the city of love, where was St. Peter the Apostle as well as Charlemagne. It offers a view of the Ligurian archipelago.

You can go to the towns of Sartsana and Varese-Ligure, there you can admire the medieval streets and the ancient castle. The nearest airport to La Spezia is in Genoa, and you can get to Rome by train.

Castello San Giorgio in La Spezia

The castle has stood on the hill of Colle del Poggio since the 13th century. It has thick, high and massive walls. It is one of the oldest and most famous constructions in the city. It was built for defense, and judging by its age, it was very successful. There is a museum of Liguria where you can see a lot of interesting things from different periods of history. Despite alterations and the gradual addition of various innovations over the centuries, you can still see the very first elements of the building.

Lerici Castle

This castle increased in size from the 12th to the 14th century, as did the number of inhabitants. Thanks to this it has a very diverse architecture. On the first floor is the chapel of St. Anastasia, made of beautiful white and black marble. On the second floor is the paleontological museum, which owes its existence to the many dinosaurs found in the area. Here you will be able to walk around with curiosity, looking at different themes. Historical walls of the structure itself, religious items, plus ancient fossils are added to the mix. You can get inside not only by stairs, but also by elevator.

Ethnographic Museum

This museum was opened at the beginning of the 20th century. It is named after the ethnographer Giovanni Podenzana, who had a hand in its founding. Here we can see real life moments of Luigiana from the Val di Vara and Val di Magra valleys. The exhibits belong to the interval between the 18th and 20th centuries. The religious moments of the life of the people are collected here. The various cults and the attitudes of the population towards them. In addition to spiritual life, it is possible to get acquainted with everyday life. The tools used, various elements of everyday life. Clothes for daily wear, as well as festive costumes and valuable jewelry. Various elements of furniture are exhibited. All successfully made to show the life of their ancestors.

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Museum of Modern Art

This museum is very young, opened in 2004. The building has 3 floors and each has its own extensive collections. More than a thousand sculptures and paintings are devoted to abstraction, surrealism and expressionism. Paintings by the artists Cozzani and Battolini, can be seen within the walls of this museum. Programmatic, kinetic and optical art is also on view here. There are also contemporary artists whose paintings have been collected from around the world. On the top floor, twice a year, there are paintings that have won the SAMES competition.

Sanctuary of the Madonna del Olmo

On the west side of the Bay of Poets, on the slope of Mount Santa Croce, a shrine in honor of Our Lady was built in the 19th century. The exterior of the structure is rather mediocre, but the interior is very beautiful. The altar is in the Baroque style, the image of the Madonna del Olmo is also inside the building. Other beautiful things will also impress you. This place attracts pilgrims throughout the year. The temple is located three kilometers from the city. To visit it you have to drive a little bit on the highway first and then make a small climb. In general, the trip takes no more than half an hour if you take the transport.

San Giorgio Castle Museum

This museum was recently renovated. Now the exhibits are located on two floors. On one of them you can see statues of Luigiana, many things from the Neolithic and Eneolithic. Iron Age, Bronze Age, necropolis, all this variety is open to all comers. Going upstairs, one can see the Middle Ages, ancient Roman times. There are mosaics, statues, portraits and various architecture. The originality is that the museum covers a large historical period. Archaeologists have long had an interest in these places, thanks to the numerous finds of dinosaurs. Some of these ancient creatures remain in the castle.

Cristo Rei Secoli Cathedral

This cathedral was opened in 1975 and is one of the most unusual temples, and not only in Italy. In Russian the name would sound like the Cathedral of Christ the King of Ages. It was built of concrete, and inside there is plenty of room for everyone. Located on the Capuchin Hill. From the outside it is not shaped like a traditional church but more like an object from the space industry, a flying saucer from the future. But unlike the saucers, there is a small Catholic cross on top of the Catholic Cathedral. Despite its unusual appearance, the cathedral is a full-fledged religious structure and the internal rules are the same as in ordinary churches. The 12 columns on which the dome rests symbolize the Apostles.

Maritime Museum of La Spezia

The museum opened in 1958. It is located near the entrance to the naval arsenal of the city. Occupying two floors, it presents to its visitors a chic collection of maritime artifacts of different times. Special pride are the bows of many ships. You can see close up a unique image, which was nailed to the prow of an ancient ship. It is worth noting that there are figures not only of real origin, but also of mythological themes. Thousands of scaled-down copies of the most different ships from different eras, different countries are collected. In addition, there are things from ships, historical documents. There are even devices for the first radio tests.

City Park

The history of the origin of the park goes back to 1825. Afterwards it became more and more extensive and interesting. There are oaks, palms and magnolias, combined with roses and many other flowers and beautiful plants. There is a monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi. In addition, you can see many other sculptures. The botany of the park is diverse and everything around is clean and interesting. You don’t have to be a fan of botany to go for a walk in this place. You can just have a nice and relaxing time in it.

Church of Saints Giovanni and Augustine

Next to St. Augustine’s Square, not far from the center of the old town, stands the Church of Saints Giovanni and Augustine. It was built by the brotherhood of prayer and death in the 16th century. They helped people who did not have the means for a full Christian funeral to make a funeral according to all religious rules. In the Middle Ages this church was quite poor. It could not stand out among the others that were located in sufficient numbers in the local area. Today, although this church from the outside does not seem very interesting, inside it has a rich decoration, which will be very pleasant to look at even to the non-believer.

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Fish Market

On Kavur square there is a famous fish market. The fish market takes place daily. Despite its name, not only fish is sold there. Around the market, there are bars, restaurants, stores of various souvenirs. Inside, there is a division where there is a trade exclusively in fish products, as well as where a variety of fruits and vegetables are sold. It is believed that all presented goods represent a delicious and fresh product. This place is the central shopping point of the entire city and will interest the visitor with the variety of its products.

Palazzo Crozza

In the middle of the 19th century, the Crozza palace appeared. It was a rich and famous family. The exterior is amazing, the entrance is chic. Inside the richest interior, not inferior to many famous palaces in the world. Large rooms and beautiful staircases. Paintings by Luigi Agretti are on the top floor. At the moment this building houses the city archives, which has a rich collection of various documents dating back to the 15th century. Upstairs there is the Ubaldo Mazzani Library, accessible to everyone.

Lia Art Museum in La Spezia (Italy)

This museum is one of the main museums in the city. It opened with money from Amedeo Lia, who wanted his city to have as much of everything interesting and great as possible. There used to be a monastery within its walls. Now the visitors can see many exhibits, most of which belong to the paintings of the Renaissance. Paintings on wood, Limoges porcelain, calligraphic texts and sculptures attract attention. Pride of place, are the paintings in gold.

Piazza Giuseppe Verdi

One of the central and important squares in La Spezia is Piazza Giuseppe Verdi. It is surrounded by many palaces and beautiful buildings. Palazzo Prefectura, Palazzo delle Poste, Palazzo delle Provincia, Palazzo delle Studi. The Studi Museum is currently home to the Classical Lyceum. The piazza has no great lighting or fountains, but on a beautiful sunny day and without modern decorations, this place leaves a good impression. It is amazing to get pictures against the background of the local architecture. In contrast to the center of large cities, here you do not hear the hum of the crowd and the large number of vehicles.

Church of Santa Maria Assunta

This church is one of the oldest in the area. Records of it date back to the 13th century. This structure attracts the eye from the outside as well as the inside. There have been times over the centuries when it has been subjected to destruction, including during World War II, but it has been successfully restored since. Near the church are the chapels of Mercy, the Immaculate Conception and the Sacred Heart. They have wonderful frescoes that also attract visitors. Inside, a ceramic Virgin Mary, a tapestry of loaves, and a painting of St. Bartholomew are striking. The font and sarcophagi are also on view. All these works are just minutes away from the Ethnographic Museum.

Villa Marmorie

The Villa was built in 1923 by the Marmoris, one of the richest families of the time. The grandiose architecture was designed by Franco Oliva, who gave it a Ligurian style. In this building, you will find a variety of frescoes and moldings by Luigi Agretti, as well as stained glass windows with a wonderful glow. These stained glass windows, courtesy of Beltrama, will delight you in different rooms with their wonderful refractions of original light. The paintings previously decorating this villa are in the city’s museum. In spite of this, it is a pleasure to walk around inside and see the beautiful decorations. The building now houses the Giacomo Puccini Academy of Music.

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