What to visit La Spezia and surroundings? While once the Cinque Terre were enough, now with the biological district, historic Sarzana and the new course of La Spezia if you go away too quickly, you risk making a big mistake.
Cinque Terre are a delight to visit them – at least once in a lifetime – and basically a must see. The risk, though, is that they end up being the only tourist attraction of the territory of La Spezia, which has rather a lot to offer.
Who wants to spend some time in Cinque Terre instead must know that there are many good reasons to go to beyond the Cinque Terre and understand beter the territory in which they are embedded.
From food to nightlife, from the quietness to budget holidays, here are some reasons to go further, after visiting the Cinque Terre well.
1 – Cinque Terre full? Sleeping elsewhere is not that bad
The Cinque Terre is a charming place, but they are also very popular. Especially in high season it is not easy to find a place to stay and – even when you find it – it might be pricy.
In recent years, in all surrounding areas have flourished dozens and dozens of small accommodation facilities. Especially in val di Vara and La Spezia there are many B&B that allow tourists to stay overnight in a reasonably closest accommodation to the Cinque Terre and often at lower cost.
The val di Vara is a good solution for those who travel by bike (or motorbike, while the car is still not recommended to visit the Cinque Terre), while La Spezia town is the ideal place for getting around by train.
If you do not find space in the Cinque Terre, therefore, do not give up: there’s a good chance that you will not regret choosing an accommodation elsewhere.
2 – The Gulf of Poets is to be discovered …
From Portovenere to Tellaro:
the arch on which lies the gulf of La Spezia is to be discovered. Touristic destination not much exploited until last decade, the Gulf of Poets is now rapidly growing also from this point of view, relying on absolute scenic wonders and thanks to a traditional gourmet making it an enjoyable break.
Hiking and lying on the beach on the Palmaria Island discovering the San Terenzo loved by the romantic poets, the Gulf of Poets has in itself legends (like the one of the Tellaro octopus) and stories to learn about (like the one of the Scola Tower, almost destroyed to win on Napoleone or of the beautifulSimonetta Vespucci, born in Fezzano and then portrayed by Botticelli) experiencing a stille partly pristine and genuine land.
The sunset viewed from La Serra, is by itself worth a visit: Lerici at your feet and the sun getting down the sea behind Portovenere.
3- The villages and the tranquility of the Val di Vara and Val di Magra: different and indispensable
Far from the crowds of the Cinque Terre, very different from each other, and yet full of charm: the val di Vara and Val di Magra are two territories that should not be underestimated.
The first, directly behind Cinque Terre , in the last years became an important center of organic excellence and is therefore a must for a slow lifestyle lovers.
Varese Ligure , Brugnato and Pignone are the three most important towns of the valley and the high quality of tourist accommodations is also recognized by the bestowal of the Touring Club orange flag award.
The same award was given to Castelnuovo Magra, laying in the awesome panoramic location on the valley that, from Luni to Sarzana – has a long and charming story to tell.
Leaving the area without breathing the atmosphere of Sarzana at the same time elegant and pope and in which is rooted the family of Napoleon Bonaparte can not be overlooked, especially for its lively cultyural life and important events such as the Festival della Mente, managing highlight Sarzana in national and international news (by the way, you know the legend of the Sword in the stone of Sarzana?).
4- La Spezia: the ugly duckling is no longer there
La Spezia today is not the one of a dozen years ago. If the industrial city and Arsenal had melted in a city in deep crisis, today La Spezia is a town that is reinventing itself and where – even with many problems – you can feel the energy of change.
If you want to visit a city that has something to say, but remains on a human scale, La Spezia is today a city that suits you.
The center – which in the recent past had staked everything on its museums to re-launch tourism – is now flourishing again and the city in two colors of the past is finding vivacity, even in the evening, thanks to a number of places that offer the possibility to get a drink , a dinner or after dinner whatever your budget.
Beautiful public gardens , pedestrian streets of the town center with shops , the waterfront the modern bridge Thaon Revel, the Art Nouveau buildings that survived the bombings of World war II may be an incentive enough for at least one day visit (not Rio de Janeiro or Rome, or Paris, but well worth the visit).
But please be advised: what matters is the rhythm, the lifestyle. It will be with its slowness that this land will capture your imagination.
If you plan to visit the Cinque Terre, allow yourself a few days more, and calmly and discover many unexpected gems.
Cover photo by Alessandro Erb
This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)