La Spezia (simply Spezia for La Spezia) is a small but very pretty city overlooking the Gulf of Poets and, even if it is not counted among the most popular destinations as the places in the immediate vicinity (The Cinque Terre for example), it is in able to offer a variety of very interesting entertainments. Squeezed between sea and mountains, it is really easy to let yourself be carried away by the call of the streets of the center and by its contrast between contemporary architecture and Art Nouveau buildings, so here we invite you to discover it by listing the 10 unmissable things to see in La Spezia in a weekend.
- 10 things to see in La Spezia in a weekend
- What to see in La Spezia in one day: recommended itinerary
- Where to eat in La Spezia: the best restaurants
- What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in La Spezia
- Plan your stay in La Spezia: info and useful tips
- User questions and comments
10 things to see in La Spezia in a weekend
1 - Castle of San Giorgio
The Castle of San Giorgio, from the year 2000, has also become the seat of the Civic Archaeological Museum following a total rearrangement, this is why it is therefore the oldest museum institution in the city; in this sense, the castle of San Giorgio was placed on the Poggio hill dominating the gulf of La Spezia. The peculiarity of this museum is represented by the fact that it contains evidence of the prehistoric and protohistoric times, in particular you will find stele statues belonging to the Copper Age and the Iron Age that evoke to mind what the castellari of the ancient Ligurians could have been, of the lithic and clay box tombs with the relative kits, all elements strongly present in the territory La Spezia. On the upper level, it is possible to admire the famous Fabbricotti collection, an art expert who has made pieces of unique value available to the community that testify to the richness and variety of public life in the cities of the Luni for a period of more than ten centuries.
In 2010, the museum was then enriched with new interesting finds including the location, within the itinerary, of a lunense mosaic depicting a nereid on a sea monster and also of a sea monster and the architectural plates figured in terracotta of the Roman age.
- on foot from the central station (500 m) along via del Prione and taking the free lifts that go up to the Castle. By car from the A15 motorway towards La Spezia center and go up via XXVII Marzo, where there are parking spaces - Get directions
- winter: from Wednesday to Sunday 9: 30-12: 30/14: 00-17: 00; Monday 9: 30-12: 30. Spring / Autumn: Wednesday to Sunday 9: 30-17: 00; Monday 9: 30-12: 30. Summer: Wednesday to Sunday 10: 30-17: 30; Monday 10: 30-13: 30
- € 5,00 per person, € 4,00 reduced per person for children 6-18 years and for those over 65, € 3,50 for unusual school groups and free admission for children up to 6 years, journalists, guides tourist
2 - The Naval Technical Museum
The Naval Technical Museum of La Spezia represents a testimony, in the complex of all Italian naval museums, of the ancient Italian naval history: its origins are more than 50 years old and the entrance is located right next to the main access of the military arsenal of the city. Since 1958 it has been the official headquarters, while previously to visit it you had to go to the mechanical workshops inside the military establishment (the first inauguration dates back to 1923). Among the rooms we must mention that of the naval evolution in which you will find a rich collection of scale models, between 1860 and 1910, of marine vessels of the Italian states at the time of sailing or of relics from the collection of figureheads of vessels of the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth centuries. Also take a look at room on underwater weapons with the story on the evolution of the torpedo starting from the first used precisely by the Navy in the distant 1875 up to those used in the nearest World Wars, and to room of the means of assault where you will admire a real documentation of the remains unharmed by the World War of the Cricket and the prototype of a bomb. There room dedicated to ancient weaponsfinally, it houses, among others, two Moorish guns from the 1521th century, a Turkish cannon from 1784, two small bombards from 10, a -barrel Gatling gun from the beginning of the century.
- the entrance is located in Piazza Chiodo, reachable by public transport in 15 minutes from the train station and a short walk from the port of the city - Get directions
- every day from 08:30 to 19:30
- admission is free; a mandatory donation of € 1,55 is required in favor of the Andrea Doria Institute (established to give "assistance to the children of sailors who have fallen in the fulfillment of duty")
3 - Via del Prione, the Carugio Drito
For the people of La Spezia, the route was originally called the Carugio Drito not because it was straight but because it was the main street and is most likely the oldest street in the center of Spezia; the etymology of its name probably means "big stone", from the Genoese pria, a stone on which in ancient times (perhaps in the 400th century) the messengers read the decrees of the Genoese Republic. To date it is the walking and shopping center of the city: there are bars, cafes, fashion shops of all types and a characteristic liveliness (it is rumored among the Ligurians that the German composer Richard Wagner, a guest in an inn right in Via del Prione, found inspiration in hearing the shouting morning coming from the street for the initial crescendo of the Rhine Gold overture).
- is located in the historic center, 10 minutes walk from the main train station, or using bus lines 3, L and S which always depart from the station (cost € 1,50 per person) - Get directions
- always accessible
4 - Amedeo Lia Civic Museum
The proponent of this splendid collection was Amedeo Lia, a Genoese who donated them to the city of La Spezia, favoring the inauguration of the museum in 1996: the collection includes about 1.000 works, relocated in 13 rooms, of great variety, from the classical period, to the late antiquity, to the Middle Ages and finally to the eighteenth century; there are preserved paintings, miniatures, sculptures in bronze, copper, ivory, wood, glass, majolica, art objects that document the taste and culture of art in Italy and Europe.
In the collection the so-called "primitives" are a real gem, with over seventy tables by Pietro Lorenzetti, Bernardo Daddi, Lippo Memmi, etc; in addition many tempera and canvases including a probable young Raphael, Pontormo, Titian, Tintoretto, Canaletto.
- it is located in a pedestrian area and therefore inaccessible to cars and buses. From the railway station, walk along Via Prione for about 10 minutes, towards the sea, up to number 234 where the Museum is - Get directions
- from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00
- € 10,00 per person, € 7,00 for large groups and for children between 14 and 18 years, € 5,00 for over 70s and children aged 6 to 13, free for university students of literary and humanistic faculties, accompanying persons groups and for those who celebrate their birthday on the day of their visit to the museum
5 - The Market
The famous La Spezia market has its roots in the nineteenth century and has never closed since it became operational, the architectural structure has recently been renovated by replacing the old wrought iron building. But the market maintains the characteristic liveliness that distinguishes it and above all the most typical products of the so-called "0 km" area, because many of the sellers who attract the attention of the customers cultivate the lands right in the La Spezia area. A large sector of the market is dedicated to fish very fresh caught in the closest seas; if by chance you find yourself at the market at lunchtime, as per tradition, you can stop to eat a typical Mesciua in the ancient Trattoria dell'Inferno, a basement where the most ancient La Spezia recipes are prepared.
- on foot along Corso Cavour, but also Via del Prione is very close - Get directions
- every day except Sunday
6 - La Spezia stairways
An interesting way to get to know the city is to explore its stairways: they unite the lower part of the city, above sea level, to its "hills", and choosing to climb one of the urban stairways allows you to appreciate some Art Nouveau details of the stairways themselves and the buildings that overlook them.
The steps of Cernaia and the "sister" dedicated to Lazzaro Spallanzani are two of the most famous in the city: the first, whose name was attributed to the battle of Crimea won by the Piedmontese and French against the Russians, has fortunately remained unharmed over time and dates back to the early twentieth century, while the second bears witness to radical changes, especially in the lower part, during the Second World War as it was an air-raid shelter for the spezini.
The two staircases are embellished with perspective games, with shaped steps to allow the water to drain and with railings that twist around double opposite ramps in a fan shape.
The view from the stairways is unique and unrepeatable: you will see the buildings made of ancient decorations dating back to the 900s and 800s. Finally we remember the Staircase of San Giorgio, from whose summit you will observe a suggestive uniquely Ligurian panorama, made up of shores overlooking the sea.
- They are all located within walking distance of the center of Spezia and the city's train station (Get directions to the Scalinata della Cenaia - Get directions to the Lazzaro Spallanzani staircase)
- always accessible
7 - Piazza Verdi
After several and numerous restoration interventions, the square presents itself with a completely new aspect: it was designed by the French architect Daniel Buren, who inserted new architectural elements, squared arches and colored totems, on the old square structure, and draw lines perpendicular to the facing streets. The square has some suggestive views, even during the night. Palazzo delle Poste overlooks Piazza Verdi, designed by the architect Angiolo Mazzoni, one of the major designers of functional public buildings of the Fascist period. Some mosaics by Fillia and Prampolini are also extremely interesting, testifying to the Futurist artistic influence on the city starting from the 30s.
- coming down from the Scalinata San Giorgio that arrives directly, you can reach it after a few steps, instead if you are at the train station, you will be in Piazza Cavour in 14 minutes with buses 1, 12, 14 and 16 (cost € 1,50 per person ) - Get directions
- always accessible
8 - The Revel Tahon Bridge
Made up of white and typically modern elements, the Ponte di Revel immediately attracts the gaze of those arriving from the sea or those walking along the city waterfront. It, built in the year 2014, is a drawbridge with a contemporary and interesting concept, which connects the marina to the historic city center through the public gardens; the peculiarity of this bridge is that it was designed to enhance the walk made of color games given by the presence of the white of the structure that culminates in the spectacular at sunset and especially at night!
- using the PIANAZZE, 3, L buses, you can reach the bridge in 15 minutes, or a 9-minute walk from the central Via Del Prione - Get directions
- always accessible
9 - Public gardens
Many of La Spezia's festivals take place in the gardens, such as the Festa del Mare and the Fiera di San Giuseppe. Upon entering you will notice many typical elements of the Art Nouveau era (present in general throughout the town) which contrast with the numerous botanical species present there, thus becoming a place to stroll along the seafront, nature and the statue of Garibaldi on horseback.
- flanked to the south by Viale Italia, they are located close to the port, it will take 6 minutes from Via Del Prione, 9 minutes by bus (C, L, S, SC) from the railway station - Get directions
- always accessible
10 - Morin walk
The Morin promenade is one of the most pleasant places in the city of La Spezia: counted among the main symbols of the city, it is characterized by a double row of palm trees with a mixed panorama consisting of the Apuan Alps to the east, the hills on the opposite side and the waterfront that dominates the scene.
Every first Sunday of August, the Palio del Golfo festival is celebrated here, which involves all the seaside villages from Lerici to Portovenere, where the best rowers of the Ligurian area compete in an exciting rowing competition involving thousands of tourists!
- they are located close to the public gardens and a short walk from the Naval Museum - Get directions
- always accessible
What to see in La Spezia in one day: recommended itinerary
Morning: starting from Via Fiume, have breakfast at Café Elite, then along Via del Prione (the main street of the Ligurian city) you will notice the countless shops for those who love shopping, until you come across the Amedeo Lia Civic Museum: thirteen rooms and hundreds of valuable pieces, including medieval miniatures, Limoges ceramics, portraits and sculptures.
It will then be the time of the covered market in Piazza Cavour: a touch of color from the wonderful stalls of fresh fish and fruit.
Afternoon: have lunch at La Pia Centenaria with a farinata, a kind of flatbread made with chickpea flour.
Go to the Archaeological Museum of the San Giorgio Castle through one of its many stairways: the view will be spectacular and you will admire a unique panorama of the city, from the typically marine one to the liberty details of its buildings. Then head to the Naval Technical Museum, where you will admire ancient weapons, underwater weapons, diving suits, divers and the remains of submarines dating back to the Second World War, a must for lovers of the sea!
Sera: walk calmly along the promenade lined with palm trees; we advise you to start from Porto Mirabello, where you can observe several luxury yachts. It was inaugurated in 2010 and is also famous for its pedestrian bridge, which connects the port proper to the Morin promenade.
When it's time for dinner, go to the La Posta restaurant where you can taste excellent fish dishes.
One day itinerary at a glance
- Breakfast at Café Elite
- Amedeo Lia Civic Museum: from Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00 - ticket price: full € 10,00. For reductions and free tickets consult the official website
- Piazza Cavour market - open from Monday to Saturday - free entry
- Lunch at La Pia Centenaria
- Archaeological Museum of the San Giorgio Castle: from Wednesday to Sunday 9: 30-12: 30/14: 00-17: 00. Monday 9: 30-12: 30. Times change according to the seasons. Ticket cost: full € 5,00. For detailed timetables, reductions and free tickets consult the official website
- Naval Technical Museum: from Mon to Fri from 08:30 to 19:30 - ticket price: free (€ 1,55 donation to the Andrea Doria Institute)
- Lungomare, Porto Mirabello, Morin promenade
- Price at La Posta restaurant
Where to eat in La Spezia: the best restaurants
- The Bayon Restaurant: Small venue serving fish on embroidered plates in an intimate atmosphere with soft lighting and wooden furnishings.
Average price per person: € 35,00
Address and contacts: Via Felice Cavallotti, 23 - 19121 La Spezia (Get directions) / tel: 0187 732209
- Osteria da Bartali: small characteristic restaurant serving fish, meat and vegetarian menus and homemade desserts in a room with colored wood paneling and floral wallpaper.
Average price per person: € 15,00
Address and contacts: Via del Torretto, 64/66 - 19121 La Spezia (Get directions) / tel: 0187 730889
- The Osteria della Corte: here it is possible to taste fish menus and in relation to the seasonality of the products, as well as in relation to the daily catch, you will admire a synthesis between lounge bar and bistro that also offers a great variety of cocktails, liqueurs and spirits.
Average price per person: € 38,00
Address and contacts: Via Napoli, 86 - 19122 La Spezia (Get directions) / tel: 0187 715210
What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in La Spezia
The historic center and the promenade (especially during the summer) are the two places where you can enjoy the modiva spezzina; they are the fulcrum of the entire Gulf area reached by many who want to have fun on Friday and Saturday nights.
You will be pleased to know that, in the summer, some disco clubs along the seafront also organize theme nights and foam parties.
The best pubs, clubs and discos
- De Lisi Indica Disco Bar: it is a lively mix of functionality and elegance where you can enjoy excellent aperitifs and lunches. Events are organized monthly in which to dance and let loose.
Address: Via Persio Aulo Flacco 2, La Spezia (Get directions)
- Jux Tap: is a reference point for dance, electronic, trance-house and commercial music. From the console of the Jux Tap the Japanese DJ Satoshi Tomiie, Tommy Vee, Alex Neri, Franchino and many others played, among others
Address: Via Variante Aurelia, 159 - 19038 Sarzana SP (Get directions) / Facebook page
Plan your stay in La Spezia: info and useful tips
- by train with the Rome - Pisa - Genoa line. There is also "La Pontremolese" if you come from the Po Valley. By plane there are the airports of Genoa to the West (87 km) and Pisa to the East (71 km). By car there are the A12 Genova-Resignano marittima motorway, and for those arriving from the North-East there is the Parma-La Spezia. Finally, many ships and ferries leave from the port of the city to Sardinia and Corsica
- Getting around: given that the number of car parks in La Spezia, but in Liguria in general, is small, we advise you to move using public transport (single ticket € 1,50, day pass € 5,00)
- Where to park: there is a ZTL (limited traffic area), we recommend parking on the outskirts or near the train station, or in any case far from the city center. The main ones are Private Parking Le 5 Terre (Get directions) or Parking in Piazza d'Armi (Get directions)
- Hotel and b & b starting from € 50,00 per room -
- What to see in the surroundings: Lerici at 18 minutes by car (11 km), Portovenere at 30 minutes by car (15 km), the Palmaria island reachable from Portovenere with daily sea connections at a cost of € 2,00 per person, the Cinque Terre at 50 minutes by car (35 km), all Unesco World Heritage sites.