The perpetually pleasant weather and scenery of La Spezia have made the town one of the most popular vacation destinations in Italy. Visitors from all over Europe travel here for the historic architecture, popular vineyard tours, and restaurants that offer some of the best traditional Italian cooking in the country. Sample the Italian cuisine at one of the restaurants in Via del Prione, spend a day window shopping at the array of upscale boutiques found along Riomaggiore, or walk along the winding cobblestone streets throughout La Spezia while admiring the beautiful architecture.
If you'd rather see specific sites during your stay, be sure to make time for some of these must-see attractions and activities in the area:
- Museo Tecnico Navale: This old naval museum features largely restored vessels that are up to several hundred years old.
- Go to the Harbor: The local harbor offers beautiful sunset views and opportunities to watch the elaborate boats that enter and exit the area.
- Museo del Sigillo: This museum is home to what is reported to be the largest collection of seals anywhere in the world.
- Campiglia Ridges: Go hiking at this popular site and take in the views from the top of the rocky cliffs and shorelines.
- Val di Vara: A nearby town just outside of La Spezia, Val di Vara is filled with long walking trails and plenty of shady forests.
- Try the local cuisine: Dine at one of the restaurants offering fresh seafood and pasta, or head to one of the many nearby vineyards to try wine samples on site.
The small town of La Spezia has a surprising number of big festivals that people from all over the country travel to attend each year. If you're here in November, sample the culinary delights from some of the best chefs in Italy at Farm in the City, or wait a month in order to witness the range of Christmas festivities and celebrations in the area throughout December. The biggest festival in La Spezia is the St. Joseph's Festival in March, a three-day celebration featuring a town fair and art show that has taken place for over 350 years.
The Italian Riviera is known for being one of the biggest vacation destinations in the world, and the number of vacation rentals throughout La Spezia are a strong indicator of this. Choose a high-end condo with luxury amenities that overlooks one of the vineyards, or rent a villa in the middle of all the fine dining and shopping options.
There are a number of day trip options just outside of town, which makes the extensive public transportation system in town an excellent resource. Buses, trains and even public ferries will take you anywhere in the Riviera quickly and inexpensively. If you have some extra time in the area, visit the charming village of Viareggio or the historical sites of Forte dei Marmi, both of which can be reached within 90 minutes by car.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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