La Spezia

A palm-fringed promenade
Renaissance masterpieces
A short travel to Five Lands

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La Spezia/Cinque Terre

The stunning Gulf of the Poets

The port at the head of the majestic Gulf of La Spezia, an impressively sweeping panorama of islands and rough headlands renamed the Gulf of the Poets, is workaday La Spezia.

A major naval and shipbuilding centre, it has a fine art gallery, the Museo Amedeo Lia, probably the finest collection of medieval and Renaissance art you can enjoy on a holiday to Liguria.
 
Sandwiched between the hills and the sea, La Spezia is now a largely pedestrianized grid of streets behind the palm-fringed harbour front promenade of Viale Mazzini and busy Via Chiodo, focused around the main pedestrian spine of Via del Prione and the central market square of Piazza Cavour, where there is a great selection of fish and other stalls. An excursion to this part of the port will bring you right into the heart of La Spezia where the Museo Amedeo Lia has a large and surprisingly interesting collection, including bronzes, illuminated manuscripts and a wide array of paintings, including lots of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Italian works, in a restored seventeenth-century Franciscan convent.
 
At the western end of the seafront is the vast naval Arsenale. Just to the left of the entrance, the engaging Museo Tecnico Navale contains lots of wonderful figureheads, models of ships, submersibles and other nautical artefacts.
 
Before continuing your holiday around Italy you have to stop off at the breathtaking folded coastline of the Cinque Terre (Five Lands) that stretches between the beach resort of Levanto and the port of La Spezia. It’s named for five tiny villages – Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore – wedged into a series of coves between sheer cliffs, whose comparative remoteness and dramatic positions make the region the principal scenic highlight of the whole Riviera.

Must see places in La Spezia

Discover our excursions

8 results found

  • BIKE TOUR & TASTING IN FRAMURA VILLAGE

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

    SPE27

    Considered as one of “the most beautiful villages” in Italy, Framura will be the destination of this exclusive excursion and also the starting point for a bike adventure along the old railway. Board the coach for a 1-hour drive to Framura, perched on the Liguarian hills and located in the area between Portofino and “Cinque Terre”. You will stop to admire the small squares, the coloured houses and to appreciate the secrets of good recipes in the local “Farmacia”. The excursion continues on with a drive down the small harbour to take an elevator and reach the starting point of your bike adventure. Following your assistant on the 5-km path along the old railway, you will experience the beauty of the landscape and have the chance to stop at many “belvedere” and panoramic balconies scattered over a path with many tunnels restored and lit. You can opt to follow your assistant or to bike on your own; this path affords access to beaches and hidden coves otherwise inaccessible except by the sea. Your destination will be Levanto where you will have free time to explore. Make sure to be at the starting point in Framura on time to meet with the assistant and the rest of the group as a tasting session with typical focaccia, cheese, bruschetta and local wine awaits you. Your drive back to La Spezia will end this unforgettable experience. Please note: please wear comfortable trousers, a short-sleeved shirt, sports shoes and sunscreen (for summer calls), and take water with you. Guests must be physically fit to take part in this tour that includes a total of 2.5 hours biking. Adjustable tour bikes of different sizes will be provided. Minimum age to take part to this tour: 7 years old. On summer calls, please wear your bathing-suit as this tour also allows guests to stop on some beaches along the bike path
    • No guide available

    • Snack included

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      5:15 h

  • AN INTRODUCTION TO LA SPEZIA

    CITY TOUR

    SPE10

    Settled since pre-historic times, gateway to the Cinque Terre region, key commercial and naval harbour as well as Liguria’s largest town, La Spezia has much to offer and this enjoyable walking tour will acquaint you with its main sights. Starting at the new cathedral, consecrated in 1975, you’ll head for the old town and the 13th-century Abbey Church of Santa Maria Assunta, whose various restorations and marble sculptures inside serve to chart La Spezia’s history. Your walk continues, taking you down Via del Prione en route to the 13th-century Castello di San Giorgio. You’ll also visit the co-located Civic Museum, which was founded in 1873 and currently showcases zoological and historical exhibits, including maps, documents, parchments and artefacts found at the nearby Lunigiana archaeological site. You’ll then return to the old quarter and complete your guided tour of the town, after which you can choose to stay in town on your own or take the shuttle back to your ship. Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair.
    • No guide available

    • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

      Difficulty Level
      Strenuous

    • Duration
      3:30 h

  • CULTURE, ART & HISTORY: DISCOVER FLORENCE

    CITY TOUR

    SPE08

    Leave the ship, board a coach and prepare to enjoy 2.5 hours of glorious Tuscan views on your way to Florence, home to an unsurpassed artistic heritage, a key centre for haute couture and your destination on this all-day tour. After meeting your guide, you will embark on an informative round-up of Florence’s main artistic, cultural and architectural sights, including Michelangelo Square, from where you can enjoy fabulous views of the city and the surrounding Tuscan hills, the lovely city centre and the 15th-century Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – all of them well worth photographing. You will then have a chance to stretch your legs on a walk to Piazza di Santa Croce to see the 14th-century Basilica of Santa Croce, a beautiful white and gold building. Next, you will have time to explore at your own pace, go shopping or choose one of many nice restaurants to have lunch (not included in the price of the tour). Please note: guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made. Conservative attire recommended for visiting religious sites.
    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      8 h

  • DISCOVER FLORENCE AT YOUR OWN PACE

    CITY TOUR

    SPE03

    Founded during Roman times, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, home to a legendary artistic heritage, the capital of Tuscany and a city where a dialect is spoken that counts as the parent language of modern Italian: the place is Florence – and your destination on this all-day tour. Best of all, you will have a chance to explore at your own pace and check out only the sights you really want to see. The outing begins with a 2.5-hour coach ride through the wonderful Tuscan landscape, after which Florence awaits in all its splendour. From magnificent architecture and impressive churches, through the Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace right up to the famous Ponte Vecchio over the River Arno, Florence provides a never-ending stream of attractions from which to choose. Whichever way you prefer to make the most of your time in this romantic city, just be sure to return to the pick-up point at the given time to catch the coach back to La Spezia and your ship. Please note: guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made.
    • No guide available

    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      7 h

  • PISA: THE TOWN OF THE LEANING TOWER

    CITY TOUR

    SPE05

    Treat yourself to an enjoyable half day off the ship for an exterior viewing of one of the world’s most famous buildings, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, along with other notable buildings and the town itself. A coach journey will first see you reach Pisa to meet your guide, after which you will first continue on to the Piazza dei Miracoli. Not only is this the site of the notorious tower, the cathedral and the baptistery, but is also the place where Galileo Galilei conducted his ground-breaking acceleration experiments. In addition to seeing the tilting tower, you will also have a chance to explore the inside of the beautiful 13th-century cathedral and to have a look around the no less spectacular marble baptistery (external viewing) that boasts a large Romanesque dome. Pisa’s pleasantly compact city centre is next, where you will find a whole host of appealing piazzas, buildings, shops and restaurants to occupy the time you will have to spend as you please. You coach will then be waiting to return you to La Spezia and your ship, with more breathtaking views of the Tuscan and Ligurian landscapes to enjoy as you go. Please note: guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made. Conservative attire recommended for visiting religious sites.
    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4:30 h

  • TUSCANY COUNTRYSIDE: LUCCA AND WINE TASTING

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    SPE21

    Immortalised by artists like Monet, Degas and van Gogh, the entrancing Tuscan countryside is one you can savour during the initial drive from La Spezia to the little town of Lucca, your destination on this entertaining tour. Founded by the ancient Etruscans and still enclosed by a set of fully intact Renaissance walls, Lucca offers visitors a step back in time. A walk through the historical streets will take you past Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, built on the site of the former Roman amphitheatre, en route to an inside visit of the Church of San Michele in Foro. First mentioned as early as A.D. 795, then rebuilt post-1070 by order of Pope Alexander II and finally given its current ornate façade onwards of the 13th century, the church features a nave, two aisles, a semi-circular apse and mullioned windows. Next up is Lucca’s Cathedral of San Martino, whose construction began in 1063 in Roman style, while the present-day building is Gothic due to 14th-century restoration work. You’ll then have some time to spend as you please before an approx. 30-minute drive takes you to Montecarlo, a small community and wine growing region noted for producing the “best Tuscan whites”. Your destination is a local farmhouse for a taste of homemade food and a chance to visit the wine cellars, the wine production and olive oil pressing areas. This special treat will be followed by your return trip to your ship, which ends the tour. Please note: guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made. Conservative attire recommended for visiting religious sites. In case of religious service, the guide will give explanation outside the churches; guests will visit the sites individually.
    • Long route by bus

    • Tasting included

    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • Duration
      6 h

  • THE NATIONAL PARK OF “CINQUE TERRE”

    SCENIC ROUTE

    SPE01

    Although “Cinque Terre” is Italian for five lands, the name actually refers to the five picturesque villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore that sit like little jewels along the Ligurian coastline and together count as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rugged and unspoiled Cinque Terre region is your destination on this all-day tour, which begins with a scenic coach ride to Portovenere, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Your guide will tell the story of this enchanting fishing village as you admire the panorama that inspired Byron and other Italian and international poets as a muse. You will have some free time to walk along the sea and explore the cosy streets before boarding a boat for a leisurely boat tour along the coast that intends to celebrate the region’s incredible natural beauty and its well-loved ancient traditions. You will reach Monterosso al Mare, the largest of the Cinque Terre villages. You will have some free time in the historical centre, home to the early 14th-century Church of San Giovanni Battista. Explore the town or perhaps have lunch in one of the many cafés and restaurants (not included in the price of the tour) before the tour then draws to a close with your train ride to Levanto and then with a coach drive to La Spezia. Please note: the tour is unsuitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair. We suggest taking a hat and wearing sunscreen during the summer months. Should adverse weather conditions prevail, a train ride may replace the boat trip; have the final tour itinerary reconfirmed during your cruise.
    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      7 h

  • DISCOVER FLORENCE AND PISA WITH SMART DEVICE

    SOMETHING SPECIAL

    SPE18

    Modern technology makes many areas of life easier, more fun and more communicative, including this extended look at two of Italy’s most celebrated cities, Florence and Pisa. Equipped with a smart device with internet access throughout, you will be free to stay with your group or to pursue your own agenda while still staying in touch with your tour guide at the same time. Apart from providing you with an interactive map and delivering useful information on places of interest and restaurants, the smart device can also be used to find out the distance to the next meeting point and – of course – to check your emails, read the news, watch videos or play games (at possible extra cost not covered by the price of the tour). Photos made with the device – for instance standing next to the Leaning Tower on Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa – will go directly to your email account for you to archive later at home. Filled with great memories of two great cities, your return to the port and your ship brings the tour to a close. Please note: the smart device with internet access is for orientation and guidance purposes. Using other functions and apps, including playing games, may attract additional charges not covered by the price of the tour. Internet connection is provided by a third party and MSC cannot be responsible for any possible lack of data connection during the tour. Smart device is available in following language version: English and Spanish. Guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made.
    • Long route by bus

    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • Duration
      10:30 h

The excursions in the programme are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
 
Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

REACH THE PORT

Port of La Spezia

This section contains information on how to reach the port.

Cruise Terminal:

Molo Garibaldi
Viale San Bartolomeo 109  
19126  La Spezia

REACH THE PORT BY

  • Car

    Approaching on the A12 (Tyrrhenian) motorway, A7-A12 (Milan-Genoa-La Spezia) motorway or A15 motorway (Cisa from the East), take the La Spezia/S. Stefano Magra exit.
    Car
  • Train

    La Spezia is located on the main rail and motorway networks at the intersection of the Tyrrhenian-Brenner and coastal lines. You can reach the port by bus (15 minutes) or taxi.
    Train
  • Plane

    The nearest international airport is Pisa Airport, about 80 km from La Spezia.
    Plane

Italy

History, gastronomy and fashion
History, gastronomy and fashion

A cruise to Italy is an emotional roller coaster. Rome is a tremendous city quite unlike any other, and in terms of historical sights outstrips everywhere else in the country by some way.
 
Liguria, the small coastal province along the north-west coast, has long been known as the “Italian Riviera” and is accordingly crowded with sun-seekers for much of the summer.
In Veneto the main focus of interest is, of course, Venice: a unique city, and every bit as beautiful as its reputation would suggest. Tuscany in central Italy represents perhaps the most commonly perceived image of the country, with its classic rolling countryside and the art-packed towns of Florence and Pisa.

The south proper begins with the region of Campania. Its capital, Naples, is a unique, unforgettable city, the spiritual heart of the Italian south. Puglia, the “heel” of Italy, has underrated pleasures, too, notably the landscape of its Gargano peninsula and the souk-like qualities of its capital, Bari.

As for Sicily, the island is really a place apart, with a wide mixture of attractions ranging from some of the finest preserved Hellenistic treasures in Europe, to a couple of Italy’s most appealing Mediterranean beach resorts in Taormina and Cefalù, not to mention some gorgeous upland scenery.