What to do in La Spezia and nearby

Some ideas about what to do and what to see: museums, events, places.

PALIO DEL GOLFO is a local competition among the 13 villages of Poet’s Gulf with their typical boat: Palio. This year has been the 90th edition of this event that was born when fishermen were trying to go faster each other to reach the harbour and sell more fish. Every year there is also a beautiful parade in La Spezia’s streets in which each village is dressed up following a different theme. Finally Bishop will give them his blessing. After the competition you can see the spectacular fireworks from the harbour.

AMEDEO LIA is a museum where you can find both ancient objects of Middle Ages both modern art. This structure originally was a convent but now is the best place to host this works: pictures, sculptures, manufacturing and more given by Amedeo Lia whose museum is dedicated.

LANDING OF PIRATES is an event of Cadimare, a little village in front of the sea near Portovenere. The last week of june this place becomes like a cinema’s set with the sailing ship “Quinto Remo” and a lot of appearing and actors who simulating battles. A very funny event not to be lost.

In the middle of Val di Vara, few chilometers away from La Spezia there is SHOPINN the new Otlet village of Brugnato and Cinque Terre with the best choise of italian brands, jewels, local products. In addition to shops there is the “Taste Pavilion” where you can find many restaurants where to taste typical dishes. At weekend, specially in summer, there will be a lot of events with special guests like actors, singers and others.

SOFFITTA NELLA STRADA: Soffitta nella strada is one of the oldest event of this kind in Italy, Sarzana was chosen for the antiques shops that were opened century ago. Exhibitors come from all around the world to partecipate at “soffitta nella strada” and they animate the old town center in August. The soffitta nella strada is also one of the main event in our town. The items sold have to be approved by a committee that clames if the items are antiques, aestethically appropriate and historically interisting. During this event you can find different things: old fornitures, modern and design items, vintage dresses, fur coats, ancient graceful jewels or trinkets, carpets, laces, oriental antiques, pantings, photographs, old books, collectables and more. The “soffitta nella strada” has reach the 50th edition and it is open for children too. The “soffitta dei bambini” is a project that allow the kids to partecipate to this event, so they can use a little space in the square in front of the fort to preparte their own little stand to exchange items with other kids.

SARZANA IN TAVOLA: Sarzana in Tavola is a food and wine festival which extols the traditions of Val di Magra, organized during second week of August. On this occasion, numerous companies and food producers reach every year the small town near La Spezia to delight residents and visitors with ravioli, testaroli, anchovies, vegetable pies, sandwiches and many other local products, perhaps accompanied by good wine from Liguria. The goal of the event is to promote local products. Thanks to the municipal administration, always present at the opening of the festival, and operators the event has become excellent: a great opportunity for everyone. The Food stands open every night at 19 to bring the best gastronomy in the Lunigiana and Magra Valley: testaroli, vegetable pies, Scarpazza focaccia and other delicacies will be the protagonists of “Sarzana a Tavola”.

FESTIVAL DELLA MENTE: is the first European festival dedicated to creativity. Since 2004, every year, it took placeduring first weekend of September, in the medieval town of Sarzana by the initiative of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio della Spezia and the City of Sarzana and it moves about 40,000 visitors. All the meetings have a small price, the past ones, however, are online for free. Every year there are meetings, workshops, laboratories, shows with artists, scientists, philosophers, neuroscientists,Italian and foreign intellectuals, about creativity and creative processes. In those days,it is not hard to find famous mathematicians, illustrious philosophers, established professionals, artists, musicians, actors, writers, at the bar every day to talk with the audience. The event last three days and animate significant and evocative corners of the town of Sarzana (the Firmafede fort, the Cloister of St. Francis, the Impavidi Theatre and Piazza Matteotti). There are also 20 books abot this festival collected in a series called ‘I Libri del festival della Mente’, published by Laterza and directed by Giulia Cogoli; in these books you can read about themes that the great thinkers of the arts and sciences have faced during the festival and beyond.

LA CALANDRINA: In Sarzana, in August, there is “Calandriniana” in Calandrini square (that give the name to the exibition): it is a beautiful outdoor laboratory where artists paint and let passersby see how a painting come to life. The arrangement of the artists, in circle, create a cozy and great atmosphere that can’t be missed. There are a lot of artists who each year participate in the street and the people who comes in Sarzana these days are even more. Calandriniana is now in its thirty-fourth edition. The logo designed for the event was inspired by the typical Ligurian windows and wants to indicate the opening on the fascinating world of painting .