What to see in La Spezia, itinerary including the main monuments and places of interest, including San Giorgio Castle, Technical Naval Museum, Civic Museum and Church of Our Lady of the Snow.
Located in the inner part of the homonymous gulf, near the eastern end of the Ligurian Riviera di Levante, La Spezia is an important industrial and commercial center, home to oil refineries and the most important Italian military port.
The ancient village, dating back to medieval times, was under the domination of the Republic of Genoa, later it became a French maritime prefecture in the time of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The church of Santa Maria Assunta, for a long time the city cathedral, was built during the Middle Ages, subsequently, after being demolished, it was erected again in the fifteenth century.
Inside there is a remarkable terracotta by Luca della Robbia, which represents the Coronation of the Madonna.
Not far away, in via del Priore, there are some interesting buildings built at the behest of local nobles.
In the Formentini civic museum in via Cavour, there is an important archaeological collection of Luni, which preserves thousands of finds from the prehistoric and Romanesque eras, found following excavations carried out in the ancient city.
These include a remarkable collection of statues dating back to the Bronze and Iron Age.
In addition to this, the museum also includes an ethnographic section and a natural history section.
The arsenal, which constitutes the largest workshop owned by the navy, contains the naval technical museum at its entrance, where collections of weapons, navigation instruments and countless boat models can be viewed.
Starting from the arsenal, the promenade of Viale Italia begins, along which you reach the modern district of the city.Recommended readings
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The castle of San Giorgio, which was built between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, was enlarged in the seventeenth century by the Genoese.
Among the noteworthy sacred buildings is the Church of Our Lady of the Snow, built following a miraculous event that occurred in the sixteenth century.
On that occasion, when the Lagora stream came out of its banks, the image depicting the Virgin Mary did not suffer any damage, while the house where it was kept was completely destroyed.
Following this fact, recognized as miraculous, a chapel was erected, in which the sacred image was preserved until its demolition.
It was then decided to build another religious building suitable to guard it and, pending its construction, the image was temporarily placed in the Cathedral.
The new temple, built on a project by Giuseppe Ferrari d’Orsara, appears to the visitor as an elaborate eclectic style building, with strong references to the architecture used in the first Christian basilicas, using decorations similar to the major sacred buildings of Constantinople.
The materials selected for the construction of the new cult building, which was called Church of Our Lady of the Snow, were all of local extraction and this can be confirmed simply by looking at the facade, which recognizes the typical colors of the stones available in area.
The building, with a beautiful facade and which can be accessed through an entrance staircase, includes an interior with three naves with a coffered roof.