La Spezia: In Pictures, Slight Detour on the The North West Tuscan Way, Tour 15

Pisa Map, Google Earth

p r e s e n t s

La Spezia Big Map 1 Google Earth

La Spezia Map 2 Google Earth

La Spezia Map 4 Google Earth

North West Tuscany for the Independent Tourist

La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

Tour 15: La Spezia, Slight Detour Along the North West Tuscan Way

Long Lines the Order of the Day in Florence.In a region renowned for towns, cities and villages packed with vast thronging hordes of visitors, La Spezia, in stark, contrast struck me immediately upon arrival as a quite lovely, quintessentially Italian city by the sea.   For reasons primarily having to do with rental cars I had reason to visit La Spezia several times during the three months of my stay.   And before we continue I do indeed realize that La Spezia resides not exactly, strictly speaking, within the current borders of Tuscany, but a kilometer or two beyond and into neighboring Liguria.  La Spezia Map 5 Google EarthOne glance at that ultra-Tuscan rigid street grid however would suggest to me that at one point or another the border was conveniently redrawn.   The reason I found myself so drawn to the place was twofold:    the quite astonishing, life-a-firming breeze that seems continually to bellow in from the sea or down from the mountains, or both at the same time.  What a wind!     And this from someone who grew up a few miles short of the Irish sea.           I kid you not: that fresh, exhilarating, wonderful blast of freshness will blow the cobwebs out of places you plum forgot you had.La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way      The second reason I enjoyed the place so much centered around their wonderful old fashioned, immensely popular covered food markets.   Oh how I so wanted to buy some of that seafood.  Independent travel and the transportation fresh fish however occupy worlds far apart indeed.     But I can tell you this;    not only did all that seafood look wonderful, there was narry a whiff of fishy fish smell lingering anywhere on the breeze.  Everything – fresh as could be.    Which brings me I suppose to the real reason that I so like this place.    As mentioned above, it has that easy going, stylish Italian metropolitan air about it with nothing of the wall-to-wall mass tourism associated with a great many otherwise interesting and stylish Mediterranean cities.    I thought the place possessed a certain legitimate intrigue.  La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way  Perched directly above the bustling city center compact neighborhoods bursting with stately Grand Tour soft focus Enchanted April charm lead the casual stroller to one interesting viewpoint, or discovery, after another.     I was impressed by the proud upkeep of the place,   and always enjoyed the fact that whether the occasion be lunch in a downtown cafe,  or a bracing hike along the quay, the lovely, lyrical, sing-song Italian language could be heard drifting through the air to the exclusion of practically any other tongue.    The few tourists I did encounter remained clustered a few short meters from the railway station – far across town from the harbor,   but just a few blocks from the market (little did they know).   Their tired, frustration etched faces serving to reflect the generally held and growing apprehension that the day would be almost over before they reached the overcrowded resort villages of nearby     ←Cinque Terre.    Mass Tourism Gone Mad. Cinque Terre Tourist Trap Fishing Village   In a future post I’ll extend the detour even further and we’ll hike the stunning clifftop paths connecting these former land-locked villages,   but for the moment I’ll suffice to say that,    should anyone reading this who cares not to be stuck in one huge, monumental tourist trap:  do not catch the train.  Just don’t.  Rent bikes,  a scooter, anything,   but just do not allow your self to be caught up in the sort of tourist Hell that I witnessed that day.   Those poor,  poor people.  But alas, the guidebooks made it all look so darn good.  (Details, details, details)… And so, I digress.     I have waffled on long enough:         We begin our tour right at the tip of the pier on La Spezia’s blustery, exposed, beaten and battered furthest extremity,     from where we stroll in a direct line – all the way across town,   and on to wander around and explore the La Spezia’s  fabulous covered markets.

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From our brief segue into foreign waters with our visit to Leguria’s La Spezia we next re-enter Tuscany and burrow deep into the farthest furthest deepest, most none Tuscan part of Tuscany there is: Lunigiana... Pontremoli to be specific.    From there we fan out to discover all sorts of wonderful and interesting things.   Lunigiana actually represents a turning point on the North West Tuscan Way for once we have explored its deep, and sometimes dark drippy rain sodden tree-lined country lanes ( think Wales….torrential rain,  more torrential rain) we will,  in reality,  be heading ‘back’ to Pisa, where the NWTT began.       But my, when the sun comes out,   as it does, lots….   what  gorgeous countryside to behold.        So enjoy this nice,  leisurely,   salty-aired stroll along the prom:   Lovely and flat,  lined with gourmet dining opportunities,    packed to the gills with quite stunning Mediterranean architecture,  fascinating shops,   cool bars,  old old churches,   museums,   you name it.          First  Viareggio, then Forte dei Marmi, and now La Spezia.    A fond farewell it is to the Med then,    at least on this trip.    From here,    and for the remainder of the North West Tuscany Way we are bound inland.

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La Spezia Map 5 Google Earth

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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La Spezia, Slight Detour off The North West Tuscan Way

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Marketplace in La Spezia, Italy

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Marketplace in La Spezia, Italy

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Marketplace in La Spezia, Italy

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Marketplace in La Spezia, Italy

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Marketplace in La Spezia, Italy

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Marketplace in La Spezia, Italy

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Marketplace in La Spezia, Italy

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Marketplace in La Spezia, Italy

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next

The North West Tuscan Way: In Pictures

Pontremoli, Lunigiana, Tuscany, Italy

Tour 15: Pontremoli, Heart and Soul of Lunigiana

Coming Soon

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