La Spezia wasn’t on the original itinerary for this cruise but we ended up there because of bad weather elsewhere. As we weren’t supposed to be there I had no plans but after a quick check on the internet I discovered it was very close to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cinque Terre. Unfortunately we were advised that due to the bad weather – strong winds – there were no ferries operating from the port to Cinque Terre so, disappointed we decided to have a leisurely breakfast and a look around the city. My disappointment turned to anger when I found out that we had been mis-informed and there were ferries running but we didn’t have enough time to visit the area.
Lap Spezia sits in a beautiful bay referred to as the “Golfo dei Poeti”, the Gulf of Poets, a reference to the numerous writers, such as Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley who fell in love with the area.
We decided to explore the city of La Spezia. The city is the home of Italy’s largest naval base and as such was heavily bombed during the war meaning the city has largely been rebuilt.
There’s a pleasant promenade to walk along and this is where you catch the ferries to Cinque Terre. A modern footbridge takes you across the marina filled with some expensive looking yachts and a selection of restaurants and bars.
In the city centre there are still some older buildings to see although I found it to be a rather bland place.
A short walk up to the top of the city brings you to the Civic Museum housed in the Castello di San Giorgio or St George’s Castle. The fortress dates to the 14th century and houses an impressive collection of prehistoric and Roman artefacts.
It really was a shame that we missed out on Cinque Terre but a least it gives me an excuse to come back and visit this beautiful coastline again.
Next port of call Villefranche / Monaco