1 – The Naval Museum of La Spezia
is one of the most interesting museums in town and certainly the most important Italian naval museum. It is located next to the main access gate of the military arsenal, the second in importance in the Mediterranean Sea and the first one in terms of shipyard technology development.
The military area is normally closed to the public but by visiting the Naval Museum you can get access to a part of the La Spezia military arsenal. Unfortunately in recent times (2015), due to international security, this entrance to the Arsenal has been denied by the Military Force until further notice.
The Naval Museum of La Spezia collects a rich heritage of civilization, technology and culture witnesses, related to the naval history of seamanship from the origins up to nowadays: models, maps, figureheads, medals, naval flags, military weapons and provides a look into the technical evolution linked to the sea and to navigation.
The room of the naval evolution houses a valuable collection of vessels scale models dating back to the time before the Unification of Italy describing the sailing techniques of the time, as well as models of almost all major Italian units launched between 1860 and 1910 in the arsenal of La Spezia and those of the Italian ships of World War II. Among the most ancient relics, a collection of figureheads belonging to vessels of the XV, XVI, XVII century. Among these, it is worth mentioning the mysterious female wooden sculpture, called Atalanta, which is believed to captivate with its charm those who look at it for long.
The hall of the assault craft gathers extensive documentation dating back to WWI, among which the famous Grillo “Cricket” model (M.A.S 15, armed torpedo boat) and a prototype of the bomb with which Rossetti and Paolucci sank in the port of Pula the Austrian battleship Viribus Unitis on 1 November 1918.
The hall on underwater weapons follows the evolution of the torpedo, from prototype used by the Navy in 1875 for the various types used in the First and Second World War. The evolution of underwater mines is demonstrated by the presence of original copies used during the world wars.
The room dedicated to ancient weapons, eventually, includes among others two Moorish mortars dating back to the sixteenth century, a 1521 Turkish cannon, two small bombs dating 1784.
Of particular interest, finally, is the photographic documentation of Guglielmo Marconi’s early radio experiments with mobile receiving stations located on the deck of military ships at the end of the nineteenth century.