After four nights in Florence, a beautiful and busy city, I arrived one afternoon in La Spezia, an Italian location I knew little about. In fact, it’s a large town with it’s own castle, theatre, shopping and port, but is used more as a place to find accommodation when visiting the Cinque Terre.
As this was the reason for my visit, I wasn’t afraid to rest up after Florence and spent the evening at my guest house accomodation. After spending my second day here exploring the Cinque Terre, it was the morning of my final day that I looked around and formed a more educated opinion of La Spezia. Is it more than a pit-stop?
Like a lot of past destinations, it’s set amongst gorgeous green mountains and also sits on the water. The streets are colourful and some narrow, giving it a lot of character. It’s main charm comes from the fact that actually, there isn’t a lot to do apart from drink coffee and enjoy the view.
Taking a stroll past the military museum, I walked the length of the waterfront and found myself on the Thaon di Revel City Bridge, a fairly new addition to the landscape from the early naughties. From here the view was fantastic, although it couldn’t rival that of the Riomaggiore at sunset.
Leaving the boats on the water, I went to the nearby gardens and visited the statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi, a famous Italian General. This park was impressive to my eyes, as all the ones I have seen in Italy, and actually pretty much since Sofia, Bulgaria, have been dry, harsh places. As I walked back from the central high street, I witnessed a thriving market with old people dressed to the nines for a morning buying fresh food. Only in Italy?
With the castle set on the hillside in the distance, I debated making the journey up but Monte Carlo was calling me and I didn’t have the time. To catch the train, I first needed to return to Riogmaggiore, after collecting my bag from the guest house.
For my Get Jaunty summary, I’d say it’s a beautiful place with excellent shopping. It’s calming; not a great deal in terms of key attractions, but that might be exactly what you want for some weekends.
Italy has been fantastic to me, bar one train ticket penalty that could easily have been avoided. Rome and the Cinque Terre were definite highlights and I dealt well with the heat. I’ll treasure my photographs from this region and as I move on to my final three countries – Monaco, France and Scotland – I feel pretty good about everything I’ve achieved. I’m also planning a second nap on this train if the lady next to me turns her music down.