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?

Best Hotels in La Spezia

  • Le Ville Relais La Spezia 12 rooms from £108

    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.

    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.
    Check Availability