in the local dialect
) is a city in the Liguria
region of northern Italy
, at the head of La Spezia Gulf
, and capital city of the province of La Spezia
It is one of the major Italian military and commercial harbours, located between Genoa
on the Ligurian Sea
. La Spezia also hosts one of the biggest military industries
of Italy, OTO Melara
The Province of La Spezia has a surface area of 881 km², with a total population of over 222,000 inhabitants.
It is made up of 32 Municipalities. In its territory is one of the true jewels of Italy, the celebrated Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the five small coastal villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia (a frazione of Vernazza), Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare, are completely free of car traffic, and can be reached only by a railway, hiking trails and a pedestrian ferry service
Today, La Spezia is the chief Italian naval station and arsenal and the seat of a navigation school. It is also a commercial port, with shipyards and industries producing machinery, metal products, and refined petroleum.
The area of La Spezia has been settled since pre-historic times. In Roman
times the most important centre was Luni
now located in the vicinity of Sarzana (small city near La Spezia). During World War II
, the naval base was bombed during Operation Bellicose
La Spezia is a point of departure for the Cinque Terre, either by train or boat. The boat also leads you to Lerici and Portovenere before turning into the open sea towards the Cinque Terre.
Both Lerici and Portovenere are reachable by public transport (15 km) from the central station of La Spezia.
Main landmarks of the city proper include:
- Cristo Re dei Secoli ("Christ the King of Centuries", cathedral), consecrated in 1975. The project was by Adalberto Libera.
- Abbey church of Santa Maria Assunta ("Our Lady of the Assumption", 13th century). It houses a considerable series of artworks, some of them coming from other suppressed religious institutes. They include an Incoronation of the Virgin by Andrea della Robbia, the Multiplication of Bread by Giovanni Battista Casoni and st. Bartholomew's Martyrdom by Luca Cambiaso.
- Santi Giovanni e Agostino ("Saints John and Augustine", 16th century). It has a single nave with 18th and 19th century decorations.
- "Ubaldo Formentini" - Civic Museum in the Castle of San Giorgio
- "Amedeo Lia" Museum
- Palazzina delle Arti and Museum of Seals
- Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (CAMeC)
- Diocesan Museum
- Ethnographic Civic Museum
- Technical Naval Museum
- National Transportation Museum
- Castle of San Giorgio, recently restored. Probably originated from a watchtower, a first castle is known to have been built by Nicolò Fieschi in 1262. In 1273 the Genoese destroyed it, and a new fortification, along with a new line of walls, was erected by the podesteria of La Spezia from 1371. Annexed to this edifice, the Republic of Genoa added a new castle starting from 1607.
- Public Gardens
- Art Nouveau-style villas
- Futurist mosaic by Prampolini inside the Post Office
- San Giuseppe, feast of the Patron Saint of the city, held on March 19.
- Palio del Golfo, on first Sunday in August.
- Cercantico, an antique fair, 1st Sunday of every month except July and August.