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3 things to do in La Spezia if I was a cruise passenger

Cruise passengers seem to be kind of lost in the city? What if I was a cruise passenger in La Spezia, what would I do? Three ideas on what to do if you choose to stay in the city.

And if I was a cruise passenger in La Spezia? What would I do? Too short a stop to trip to the sea in one of the heavenly beaches of the Riviera. Too little time to go looking for special places in the surroundings. It might be an idea to visit a museum, but maybe you do not want to be indoor.
What to do then? We tried to put ourselves in the cruisers’shoes and figure out three ideas for a visit to the city can set you in touch with the true, authentic local spirit.

1 – A stroll in via Prione among shops and typical flavors

the first stretch of Via Prione, La Spezia, in 1917, looking very similar to today
the first stretch of Via Prione, La Spezia, in 1917, looking very similar to today.

If you do not have much time to spend and you must choose one and only one street to go, I would choose via Prione. Among all La Spezia’s streets, it is the most close to the typical Ligurian Carugio – narrow street – .
Popular street for the youth meet-ups, flanked from start to end with shop windows.
It is also the right place to be to taste some local dDelicatessen.
In Via Magenta, a small road crossing Via Prione, is La Pia, century-old pizzeria and La Spezia spirit holder. A take-away farinata should not be missed here (read this post with history and curiosities of the farinata).
If you are fans of focaccia, however, in via Prione you have two excellent bakeries: after Piazza Ramiro Ginocchio is Il Fornaio while in Piazza Garibaldi the right address is Mister Molini.

2 – The gardens and the sea

If I was a cruiser, I would forgo the shuttle bus taking to the center which I would reach on foot (of course, someone should tell me I actually already AM in the city center).

It is coming from the sea front that you best appreciate the extension and the majesty of the public gardens. They assumed their present appearance in the second half of the nineteenth century, when they were extended towards the seaon landfills obtained with the Arsenal’s construction material, expanding the initial nucleus of the grove (the one around the music stage, precious Art Nouveau urban artifact purchased by the city after the universal exposition of the early twentieth century).
The richness of the gardens is in the numbers: 170 plant species, 110 genera and 55 families present: from Ginko Biloba to the century-old cedars, through the more than 30 species of the roses of the waterfront.

The promenade of La Spezia viewed from the deck of Thaon Revel footbridge
The promenade of La Spezia viewed from the deck of Thaon Revel footbridge.
Ph. Gaia Tosti GtG

The waterfront is just the natural continuation of the previous stroll, the Passeggiata Morin -with its sleek palm flanks – joining the Pier Italia (majestic view of the Apuan Alps from its edge, by the red beacon) to port Mirabello . Opened in 2013, the modern Thaon Revel Footbridge extends what was the first town dock to the city’s new marina.

3 – The colors of the market: where all La Spezia turns around

If you want to approach the heart of La Spezia and maybe you are up for a walk in the morning, there is nothing better than to hop to the public market. In Piazza Cavour (but everyone calls it the Piazza del Mercato Market Square ), every morning the ritual of farm shopping is staged.
On the structure that houses the market – once, before World War II, there was an elegant art nouveau architecture – controversy has never ceased, but everyone agrees on what you can find on the benches.

Among the benches of the fish market in La Spezia
Among the benches of the fish market in La Spezia

Divided into two parts (fruits and vegetables on one side, fresh fish on the other), with the sellers shouting, among smells and colors, the city market is a meeting point, full of social relations and life. La Spezia – the real and popular one – passes through here, to collect the ingredients for some of its recipes (see this post with the recipes of the local cuisine ).
And if the cruiser was you, what would you do?
(the photo in the header is by Caterina Spagnolo)

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