LIGURIA IN WINTER: 5 THINGS TO SEE IN LA SPEZIA
Have you ever been to Liguria in Winter?
One of the best things of Italy is that there is plenty of culture, food, art and beautiful landscapes and cities that make traveling a great experience even off-season. In particular, Liguria, with its mix of mountains and sea, is something special.
The most touristic spots in Liguria, like Cinque Terre, may look a little desolated in winter but, without the crowds, they acquire a more authentic atmosphere.
On the contrary, the largest cities, such as Genoa or La Spezia, offer museums, exhibitions, nightlife and activities throughout the year.
Moreover, as already said, mountains are really close and this is great if you like skiing.
Since many of the accommodations owned by My Rental Homes are located near La Spezia, I think it’s a good idea to talk about this city.
I decided to focus on the urban interesting places, leaving aside museums and historical spots.
The center of La Spezia: Via del Prione, Art Nuveau and Piazza Garibaldi
Of course you cannot avoid a walk through the center of the city.
Many streets are straight lines but they are placed on different levels, which means you have to climb stairs but you also can see the city from different points of view.
Via del Prione is a shopping street with nice historical buildings.
In La Spezia it’s easy to find Liberty Style buildings. One of them is the Civic Theater, first built in 1846. It hosts many shows, especially in winter, and is one of the venues of the La Spezia International Jazz Festival.
Between Via del Prione e Via Garibaldi is Piazza Garibaldi. This square itself is nice but nothing special. However, the Carrara marble fountain is something you should see, since is one of the most photographed spot in La Spezia.
The fountain depicts two sails but if you look at them from a certain angle they form the shape of an heart.
The Gulf of Poets in La Spezia: The Promenade of Costantino Morin, Ponte Thaon and Porto Mirabello.
Walking along a promenade that faces the sea is always romantic, isn’t it?
Doesn’t matter if it’s during a hot clear summer afternoon or a cloudy winter morning.
One of the best spots to enjoy the views on the Gulf of Poets is the historic Promenade of Costantino Morin, adorned with palms and flowerbeds.
The view ranges from the Apuan Alps to the east, to the jagged coast towards Porto Venere to the west.
If you are an early bird and weather is fine I suggest you to watch the sunrise from the Promenade. The sun rises above the sea, while the docked boats gently swing, the air is crispy and almost nobody is around…
The Thaon di Revel pedestrian bridge connects the public gardens to Porto Mirabello and offers some other great views.
It’s a modern cable-stayed bridge made of white steel. It is both functional and elegant.
Its name -that could sound like a Games of Thrones character’s one- comes from the World War I admiral of the Italian navy, Paolo Emilio Thaon di Revel.
Porto Mirabello is a great place for shopping, restaurants and if you want to take a closer look to some luxury yachts.
Don’t forget to stop at the bizarre statue of a wet girl dragging a whale and let me know if you figure out the meaning.
What to eat in La Spezia: from the market in Piazza Cavour to the restaurants
Every morning, from Monday to Saturday, the covered market in Piazza Cavour awaits its customers with fresh fish, local products, vegetables and flowers. It’s the right place to buy some good Pesto sauce.
Since La Spezia is a Ligurian city, Pasta with Pesto is something you have to try, especially if you have never eaten fresh handmade Pesto sauce.
Just a little refresh for those who doesn’t know what Pesto is.
It’s a a sauce made from basil leave, garlic, grated Pecorino and Parmigiano cheese and pine nuts, all smashed in a mortar and blended with oil of olive. It’s fantastic!
The Ligurian cuisine is a poor cuisine, as it originates from the habits of country people, mountaineers and fishermen.
It is based on simple, common and cheap ingredients.
Just to give you a couple of examples, the famous Ligurian Focaccia is a flat bread with salt and oil of olive, and the Farinata is a very thin salted cake made of chickpea flour, salt and extra virgin olive oil. They may seems similar and too simple to be good, actually they taste different and they are really great – especially as a street food.
Two other typical dishes to try during your stay in La Spezia are Testaroli and Mesciua.
Testaroli are a kind of pasta made of flour, salt and water.
The batter is baked in special terracotta or cast iron containers, called Testo (that’s where the name ‘Testaroli’ comes from). Then, they are cooked as normal pasta, in boiling salty water, and seasoned with a sauce similar to pesto.
Mesciua is soup prepared with a mix of cereals and legumes that changes based on availability or personal taste. The name means ‘mixture’.
Liguria in Winter is a good destination for a trip and you cannot miss to visit La Spezia. Just remember that the weather can be unstable. Rains and winds are not rare, and temperatures may get low. So, remember to take with you an umbrella and some warm clothes to protect you from the cold.
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