Hotel B&B La-Spezia
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To the roman age the province of La Spezia was considered vacancy locality, and in the course of the eight hundred it has become goal world-wide of the tourism. In this province famous poets have lived, between which Byron, Shelley, Goethe, and for this The city of Spezia is known like "Gulf of the Poets". To the territory of this province make part the Five Lands (Cinque Terre), declared "patrimony of the Humanity" for their extraordinary natural beauty. Moreover this earth is today important center extensions antiquarianisms, and thanks to the medioeval villages, dipped in the nature, are considered one cultural goal of great value.
It is a well known fact that to know a city inside out, a stroll on foot brings the most satisfaction. Our hurried lifestyle nowadays, can always have an improved quality by giving ourselves time to walk around a place, purely to enjoy the visual pleasures.
This goes for La Spezia too, it should be discovered without haste leaving from the jetty where the ferries are moored, called “Molo Italia”. Go through the exotic Public Gardens which are the pride of the city for their careful upkeep and flourishing flora. Then along Viale Diaz to the crossroad with Via Chiodo with its airy shaded arcades.
Straight across is Via Prione, a lively pedestrian street in the heart of the old town. The Civico Theatre designed by Franco Oliva comes up on your left symbolising the elegant thirties. A little way on where the street narrows, below the length of wall that dates back to the beginning of the seventeenth century, what was once one of the entrances to La Spezia can be seen. This was in fact the entrance from the Naval Base to the walled city.
Here we are in the heart of the town that is now pedestrian way, and where traces of La Spezia in medieval, reinassance and baroque times can be glimpsed. Not be missed on your way are the splendid solid Genoese doorways of the Doria Pamphili and Massa buildings.
Carved stone decorates the houses all along Via del Prione and the surrounding side streets. A stop to admire the nearby Piazza S. Agostino gives a real feeling of La Spezia nowadays. Looking towards the sea, the buildings continue, these were originally built as rows of towers like soldiers defending the city and gave homes for the nobility in the baroque period. Towards the hillside there are postwar buildings that were erected around the 15th century convent of Sant’Agostino.
The San Giorgio Castle
Back in Via del Prione and further along, there is Diocesan Museum, in the deconsacrated oratory of San Bernardino. In past times, travellers left the city from the Porta of San Bernardino or entered from the direction of Genoa, the Ligurian capital, having crossed the Foce pass. Beyond this point lay an area that was not open contryside but being rich in water sources, was agriculturally active.
During the 17th and 18th centuries windmills were active all around the large convent of the brotherhood of San Francesco da Paola. This is the place where the fascinating museum Amedeo Lia has recently been founded.
But certainly the building that has the most standing in the historical urban plan is the San Giorgio Castle. In past times it was of major importance in the Genoese defence system, and is now home to the municipal archeological collection. The fort rests on a rise in the hillside, and can be reached by climbing the steps from Via del Prione, or by road along the hillside on Via XXVII Marzo.
The castle was built and modified between the 14th and 17th centuries and is an interesting if complex example of fortified architecture. Little of the original fort still exsistis, this was built in two parts connected to one another. Parts of the original walls are still standing and stretch of the city wall which goes down to Piazza Sant’Agostino.
The modification at the beginning of the 17th century has given the castle the appearence it has today. It now serves the city as a venue for a variety of cultural activities.
Coming back down via the San Giorgio and Quintino Sella steps, we’re in La Spezia again, to discover some history over the last two centuries. The growth of the city arose from the days of the power seeking Savoia family. This city its classical architecture, wide avenues and arcades mixes with its historical old town centre, and later comes up with elegant modern day architecture.
The main entrance to the naval dockyard, opens onto Piazza Chiodo. A visit here is well worthwile to see the Industrial Museum which was the pride and joy of modernism of the last century and is still a centre of activity nowadays.
There are two aspects to nineteenth century Spezia, the technological side connected to the military development in the Gulf, and the residential facet that has given rise to the development of parks and public places.
The Public Gardens that lie between the via Chiodo arcades and the palmlined seafront, are symbolic of the aesthetic growth of La Spezia. The botanical gardens were first designed in 1825 and are today well used by the citizenship. The city’s touches of liberty style can be seen in the Gardens mostly around via Chiodo, and in particular, the splendid bandstand that was erected in 1866.
The Twentieth Century
At the beginning of the 20th century and for ten years after, many elegant buildings appeared, both residential and public. These remain today as the most impressive urban aspect of La Spezia. Whilst walking around Piazza Verdi and then via XX Settembre and via XXVII Marzo, one should look up, not to miss a glimpse of decorative additions to the buildings. Painting, sculpture and bas relief abound as soft female forms, contorted animal shapes, and sturdy male figures, all silent immobile members of the population.
The city has passed through various moments of development that can be seen in so many architectural styles from Liberty to Futurism, from deco to plain rationalism up to post war times when straight lines and formality in design where the rule. The Law Courts to the East of the city designed by Ignazio Gardella are a solid example of the latter style, and in front of this building, almost in contrast, a sculpture by Klein depicts man’s uncertainty.
Museums certainly house most of the city’s archaeological and artistic history, but one can always be fascinated by artistic features on public buildings and churches. Just such an example can be seen in the glazed terracotta by Andrea della Robbia in Santa Maria Assunta in Piazza Beverini. In Villa Marmori now the Giacomo Puccini Music Academy in via XX Settembre, the rooms are flooded with light that filters through brightly coloured stained glass. In the Public Gardens near the Town Hall building, stands the impressive “Winged Victory” statue by A. del Santo. And not far away in piazza Verdi, the mosaics by Fillia and Prampolini decorate the wall of the Post Office tower, showing dynamic futuristic themes that depict a world racing against time in a technological age.
The Amedeo Lia museum gained its name from its benefactor. In this 17th century Convento dei Paolotti, as well as a well furnished art collection, there are collections of jewellery, ivory, miniatures, glass and sculptures. The paintings are displayed in chronological order from 13th century Florence to excellent examples of 18th century views of Rome and Venice.
And then, the ancient castle houses a museum that goes further back in time to preistoric and primitive eras. In the San Giorgio Castle, the museum adaptly houses
the prehistoric and primitive collection downstairs, and upstairs, the Roman collection.
There are shining examples from the site in Luni and finds from medieval times. Through the castle, the Stele Statues (carved stones that go back to 4000 B.C.) stand on guard, reminding us of distant times. Then back in the Civic Museum behind the historic Ubaldo Mazzini Library, there is the Ethnographic Museum, composed at the end of the 19th century by Giovanni Podenzana, where the main focus is on countrylife.
At the Palazzina delle Arti, art exibitions change throughout the year, and there is also a curious museum of seals (Museo del Sigillo) within the same building that boasts the largest collection of its kind. Onto the Technical Naval Museum where an impressive collection of figureheads can be admired as well as glorious reminders of naval history, and model ships that give us a clear picture of the development of navigation. Other interesting collections, estabilished thanks to private donations to the city of La Spezia can be viewed at the Diocesan Museum, The National Transport Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (Museo d’Arte Contemporanea) which is still at the planning stage.
Footpaths on the green hillsides around the city
We have said that La Spezia’s city is to be seen on foot. Now lets look beyond the urban centre to the narrow dividing line between town and country, where we can climb along a choice of numerous footpaths on to the hillsides. Up, up, up, catching spectacular glimpses of seascapes landscapes and even mountains. With a choice of directions to take, why not start from the Chiappa, which then goes up to the Salto del Gatto and on through woodland of holmoak to reach the parish church of Marinasco.
A pause here to admire this church its gothic bas-reliefs and surprising views of the Tuscan coast from the front of the church. On from here to the Foce Pass, tottering between the sea of the Gulf and the woodland of the Vara Valley. The route goes on to Sant’Anna and back to the city via Le Toracche, which is an interesting example of fortification that dates back to the late medieval period, and a bit further Maggiano just above La Spezia.
On the east facing slope you can go up Via della Lobbia starting from the romanesque double apsed San Venerio church. Pass alongside villa Da Passano to reach Carozzo and from here to the district of San Venerio.
The Cinque Terre offers other choices of footpaths in the Gulf and a part of the National Park, the area around Tramonti, is within the La Spezia town council. To reach the Cinque Terre, one must follow the footpaths that go from Biassa down to Fossola where there is a tiny church dedicated to the Guardian Angel (Angelo Custode).
From here, as one looks out to distant horizons on the sea, a footpath can be
glimpsed linking Monasteroli and Schiara and up to Campiglia.
The culinary arts in La Spezia bring together the fruits of the land and sea, in a surprising but tasty way, anchovies and potatoes, or cuttle fish and fresh greens for example. The sea might offer fresh Mediterranean fish, sea bass octopus and mussels, and salted cod can be prepared in crispy batter or in a scrumptious sauce (stoccafisso). Just as mouthwatering are the dishes from the countryside and the hillsides, such as homemade herb tarts and ravioli.
The olive oil is of course excellent in these parts and adds a finishing touch to a tasty bowl of “mesc-ciua” a local soup made with chick peas and spelt (a type of wheat). Walking through the town centre, whiffs of this soup and “farinata” waft past to whet our appetites for a taste of these specialities made in La Spezia.
The Gulf and the open sea
San Venerio, the courageus hermit lived his life fearlessly on the open sea. The
coastline of the Gulf has carved its way around the bay, leaving sheer rocky drops, interspersed with inlets and coves. Waves lap harshly around the islands while inland, flourishing flora thrives inspite of inaccessible coastlines. In early medieval times, following the saint, the stony islands of Tino and Tinetto became religious settlements, and there had also been Christian proclamation in Porto Venere since the times of Gregorio Magno in the 6th century.
The west coast is rocky and less populated than across the bay, where Lerici and its pisano-genoese castle are linked with noble Sarzana, the Val di Magra and the coast. The gulf embraces the islands of Porto Venere and stretches on the opposite side to the rocky, purple streaked Punta Bianca: at the centre of this embrace lies La Spezia.
Municipalities of La.Spezia:
Part of the information regarding the history, the art, the traditions and the events about the city of on this page is drawn from www.wikipedia.org
respecting the GNU Free Documentation License.