La Spezia

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Photo of La Spezia

About La Spezia

With pastel-coloured houses hugging the sloping coastline, against a backdrop of blue-hazed hills bearded with trees, La Spezia is often overlooked by tourists intent on exploring Liguria and Tuscany, and in particular, the Cinque Terre coastline. This may be due to the presence of Italy's largest naval base, but there's so much more to La Spezia than that: boasting a charming and quintessentially Italian Old Town of winding cobbled streets, a palm-lined waterfront, a 15th century marble-fronted basilica and, crowning the town itself, a 13th century castle. Settled since prehistoric times and a major trading hub during the Roman era, La Spezia has a long and rich history, and you can immerse yourself in it at one of the many museums and art galleries lying scattered throughout. If you're feeling adventurous, you can take boat trips along the rugged and enchanting Cinque Terre coastline, to islands untamed and beautiful, or hike to the summit of the Gulf of La Spezia and drink in the spellbinding panoramas. Bustling, picturesque and steeped in layers of history, culture-vultures, couples and families will love it. The best places to stay in La Spezia include a lovely little boutique overlooking the sea - ideal for families, lovers and explorers alike.

What not to miss

  • If you're there in March, don't miss the feast day of San Giuseppe, the patron saint of La Spezia, a day when the naval base is open to the public and open-air markets flood the port and centre.
  • Walk down the palm-lined waterfront and see the hazy blue hills in the distance.
  • Check out the marble-fronted Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, first constructed in the 15th century but finally completed fifty years ago! You can see why.
  • Trek through the Parco Naturale Regionale di Porto Venere, a public park of rocky coastline, trees, mountains and awesome views of the Gulf of La Spezia.
  • Head to San Giorgio Castle, a 13th century beauty crowning the city, with an archaeological museum inside featuring displays ranging from the Bronze Age through to the Renaissance.
  • For art, you'll love the Amedo Lia Museum, set in a former convent.
  • Take the train out to other great Tuscan cities - from Pisa to Florence.
  • Immerse yourself in the city's naval history at the Naval Technical Museum.

It's strange that La Spezia is so often overlooked by tourists. A great starting point for exploring Tuscany and Liguria, and teeming with history and beauty, it's a hidden gem. Browse through our list of the best places to stay in La Spezia to find out why.

The best places to stay in La Spezia

Boutique

  • Le Ville Relais is a small friendly hotel offering spectacular views overlooking La Spezia and the Gulf of the Poets. The twelve rooms are light and spacious with soft hues and antiques. Featuring an infinity pool, a restaurant serving regional classics and a well-stocked wine cellar. Ideal for exploring the region.

For an apartment or villa

  • Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of villas and apartments in the nearby area.

Travel information

  • You don't want to miss the festival of San Giuseppe - the naval base is opened to the public and the city teems with overflowing markets. It's on March 19th, when the temperature ranges between 8 and 17 degrees.
  • Fly to Pisa International Airport, and get a train to La Spezia - the journey can take less than 1 hour.
  • If you want to rent a car, contact our partner Rentalcars.

Still not sure?

Weather

Monthly Weather in La Spezia

Best Hotels in La Spezia

  • Via Chiodo Luxury Rooms La Spezia 9 rooms from £55

    Local exploring  -  This will most appeal to those with a car looking to explore the area and return to a well-located and comfortable base
    Value chic  -  Considering the central location and beautifully designed rooms, this is excellent value for money
    Sights nearby  -  Technical Naval Museum, St George's Castle and Amedeo Lia Museum are all walking distance
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.

    Elegant rooms situated in a 19th-century building in central La Spezia, walking distance from the port. The 9 rooms have frescoes and large bathrooms. Will suit those who want to feel like residents, rather than tourists. There is no restaurant but options in the area, including a ground-floor bar. See More

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  • Benso Rooms La Spezia 8 rooms from £65

    Local exploring  -  Well-located to explore this scenic Italian region known for its coastal villages, national parks and crystal blue sea
    Groups  -  The Benso Rooms can sleep up to 9 people, making a great base for groups of friends
    Sights nearby  -  St George's Castle and gardens, Cathedral of Christ the King, Technical Naval Museum and Amedeo Lia Museum are all walkable
    Sailing  -  Venture out by boat to explore UNESCO World Heritage Site Cinque Terre National Park or the islands of Tino and Palmaria

    An 8 room property located in a 19th-century building in central La Spezia. Rooms are light and airy, with high ceilings, contemporary furniture and crisp white sheets; many have balconies. There is a bar and breakfast is included. The city's public gardens and many restaurants are on the doorstep. See More

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  • Le Ville Relais La Spezia 12 rooms from £108

    Local exploring  -  Well placed to discover the historic, cultural and natural sights of the East Ligurian Riviera.
    Sights nearby  -  Set minutes away from picturesque Portovenere and the Cinque Terre area, a UNESCO World Heritage
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.

    A small friendly hotel offering spectacular views overlooking La Spezia and the Gulf of the Poets. The twelve rooms are light and spacious with soft hues and antiques. Featuring an infinity pool, a restaurant serving regional classics and a well-stocked wine cellar. Ideal for exploring the region. See More

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  • Resort Villa Ito La Spezia 6 rooms from £115

    Local exploring  -  Spend mornings exploring the beautiful area by car and return to a haven of calm for afternoons by the pool
    Sights nearby  -  In La Spezia visit Amedeo Lia Museum, St George's Castle, Technical Naval Museum and the Public Gardens
    Sailing  -  Take a ferry or hire a boat to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cinque Terre National Park
    Restrictions on children  -  Only children aged 10 and above are allowed

    Characterful guesthouse located 3km outside the port city of La Spezia. Rooms are housed in a historic villa, surrounded by gardens with an outdoor pool. Decor is traditional Italian; think statues, opulent paintings and antique ornaments. A cold breakfast is provided and restaurants are nearby. See More

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