Liguria - Places to Visit - La Spezia
Situated in the inner curve of the gulf of the same name, the town is about 20 km. from the Tuscan boundary. Already inhabited in Roman times, it was for many centuries a fishing village, acquiring a certain importance in the 13th century when the Fieschis, at war with Genoa, turned it into a fortified village.
Destroyed by the Genoese (1273), it became part of the Republic,sharingi ts fortunes. During this period the walled town started to expand.
It did not, however, increase in size until the second half of the nineteenth century, when it was chosen to constitute the major naval base of the Kingdom of Sardinia; in 1869, the great military Arsenal was built.
Monuments: Castello di San Giorgio (14th century castle, modified and restored), Duomo (of 13th century origin, houses a polychrome terracotta by Andrea della Robbia), Arsenal.
The economy is based on port activities; traditional industries linked to the military sectors were replaced after the Second World War by shipyards, engineering and petrochemicals.
Events: Palio del Golfo (first Sunday in August), Premio Biennale di Pittura `Golfo della Spezia' (biennial painting award).
Famous People: Antonio Carpenino (artist, 16th century), Giuseppe Pontremoli (artist, 1836-1899), Giovanni Cappellini (geologist, 1833-1922), Ubaldo Mazzini (historian and archeologist, 1868-1923).
Cultural Institutions: Teatro Civico (civic theatre), Museo Archeologico `Raccolta Lunense' (archeological museum), Museo Tecnico Navale (museum of naval technology), Biblioteca Comunale Mazzini (library).
In the Province: Various beach resorts and places of environmental interest such as Bonassola, Lerici, Portovenere, Levanto, Cinque Terre; Sarzana (agricultural and commercial centre).