La Spezia (Spèza in local dialect, pronounced Spèsa) is situated at the centre of the evocative Gulf of Poets. Thanks to its temperate climate, characterised by mild winters and summers, the city is the ideal destination all year long.
La Spezia is at the centre of a touristic route which goes from the Cinque Terre National Park, with its vineyards and the steep cliffs, to the quiet green valleys of the Vara Valley, from the Magra Valley and Sarzana to the typical sea towns of the Gulf, such as Lerici and Portovenere.
Originally founded in Roman times, La Spezia flourished during the Genoa rule (Fieschi, Genoa Republic, Napoleon I). The city has developed as a touristic resort for the whole XIX century, when it used to host the holidays of the Italian royal family and the Italian King himself.
Its structure has been modified during the construction of the Military Shipyard by Domenico Chiodo, in 1869, which led to the development of the modern city of La Spezia.
The touristic development of the town has started during the 1990s, thanks to the creation of pedestrian zones the improvement of large town quarters and the development of tourism related services.
La Spezia streets, a few minutes from Residenza Viani, are characterised by the typical Liguria-style houses and the 20 th century art nuveau buildings
The public garden, facing Residenza Viani, are a piece of the town’s history. Designed by the painter Felice Del Santo, they were built as a consequence of the construction of the shipyard. The material resulting from the digging of the docks has been used to retrieve from the sea the area of the park . Thanks to the presence of exotic (citron tree, magnolias, palms) and local (maritime pines, agaves, orange trees) plants, this garden is luxuriant all year long.
Via Prione and Corso Cavour are the heart of the pedestrian zone. Several shopping streets depart from here, leading to important cultural centres such as the Museo Lia , the museum of ancient and medieval arts, the Seal’s museum , hosting the seals donated by the Cappellini family, the Diocesan museum , the Museum of Transport .
The CAMEC (Centre for Modern and Contemporary Arts) is in piazza Cesare Battisti, a few meters from the pedestrian zone. It has a permanent collection and organizes temporary international exhibitions. The Navy Museum, inside the Navy Arsenal, has a rich collection of naval and warfare objects.
La Spezia and its province offer serveral events and shows all year long. The 19th of March is the day of San Giuseppe, the patron of the town. During this holiday, there’s a huge fair inside the town park and along the promenade. The Jazz Festival and the PopEye Festival are organized in July, and take several national and international artists to the shores of the gulf.
The “Gulf Regatta” takes place on the first Sunday of August on the promenade. It is a boat competition between the villages of the gulf and culminates with a spectacular firework show.