With 93.000 inhabitants (as of 2020), La Spezia is almost a big city. La Spezia is the second largest city in the Italian region of Liguria after Genoa. The port city lies on the Gulf of La Spezia, part of the Riviera di Levante. Subtle spirits once called the location "Golfo dei Poeti", the "Gulf of poets".
La Spezia - the first impression
In general, La Spezia is viewed disparagingly for its industrial background. A closer look reveals that the city is worth more than just a look. - Seen from the sea, La Spezia presents itself at first sight as a community surrounded by hills to the north and west. In the south the Ligurian Sea is the natural border, and in the southeast the region connects to Tuscany. The narrow coastal strip naturally offered little space for settlements, so not only the coastal plain but also the surrounding hills were built on.
La Spezia - built-up slopes
There are handsome residential and commercial buildings in the vicinity of the cruise ship berth close to the center. La Spezia is without a doubt a well-kept and remarkable destination.
La Spezia - settlement area from time immemorial
Finds show that La Spezia was already settled in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Later, Etruscans and Romans ruled the area. Much later, La Spezia fell to the Genoese Maritime Republic and Napoleonic France. Remarkable buildings still bear witness to both rule today.
La Spezia - Castle of San Giorgio
La Spezia - economy
Due to its location on the Gulf of La Spezia, the city developed into a well-known and important trading and military port in the Middle Ages. At times, La Spezia was the most important naval base on the Apennine Peninsula. The city owes its economic development to seafaring. Shipyards, armaments factories, power generation, the civil port industry with its container terminals and ferry traffic to Sardinia and Corsica were and are the pillars of the local economy.
La Spezia - Shipyards in the Hinergrund
The city is a media location and seat of central institutions. Tourism is also of economic importance. Tourism mainly benefits from the proximity to the world-famous Cinque Terre National Park and the Val di Vara in the hinterland.
La Spezia - culture and science
La Spezia offers its residents and visitors a wide range of cultural activities. Since 2001 the city has been the location of a small university, and since 1927 it has been the bishopric of the diocese of La Spezia-Sarzana-Brugnato. The episcopal church is the Cattedrale di Cristo Re. Its modern-looking construction began in 1929 and was completed in 1975.
La Spezia - Cathedral of Christ the Re
La Spezia - destination of the cruise ships
Cruise ships regularly set course for La Spezia. They come less because of the attractions that La Spezia offers its visitors. Rather, cruise ships call at the port because of the distant tourist heavyweights Pisa and Florence in Tuscany or because of the neighboring world cultural heritage of the Cinque Terre.
La Spezia - Celebrity Reflection cruise ship
Update April 2023