La Spezia (Cinque Terre) Cruise Port

Port of La Spezia (Cinque Terre): An Overview

La Spezia, Italy, lies southeast of Genoa on the Ligurian Sea's Riviera di Levante (Coast of the Rising Sun). Developed as a port even before Roman times, the original fishing village became a trading center for produce from around the world and, in particular, spices (hence, the name La Spezia, meaning spice). During the 13th century, the first set of fortress walls was built, only to be followed by a second defensive ring in the 1600s. Today, the city is Italy's main naval base, as well as a cruise port. In town, visitors can see remnants of the old city walls and discover the port's history at the Naval Museum. The Amedeo Lia Museum displays a private collection of paintings by Italian masters in a former convent. Archeological finds may be seen in the imposing Castle of San Giorgio; getting to the ancient watch tower by funicular is half the fun.

Don't Miss

La Spezia makes a convenient stop for exploring the renowned Cinque Terre, five enchanting seaside villages to the west. This collection of small fishing enclaves with pastel-painted houses perched on the clifftops is linked by roughly five miles of well-marked walking trails. If hiking on the vine-covered cliffs isn't your bag, no worries. You can hop on the train in La Spezia and get off at one of the villages. Then soak up the scenery while lounging in an outdoor cafe overlooking the sea. Other excursions from La Spezia include Pisa for a look at its famous, now partially straightened Leaning Tower and the charming walled city of Lucca. A day trip to Florence, about 2.5 hours away by coach, is doable during longer port calls.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The currency in Italy is the euro, and ATMs are located throughout the city.

Language

Italian, but English is understood in tourist areas.

--By Ginger Dingus, Cruise Critic contributor

--Photo: Rostislav Glinsky/Shutterstock

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