La Spezia

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La Spezia
Comune
Comune della Spezia
Panorama of La Spezia
Panorama of La Spezia
Coat of arms of La Spezia
Coat of arms
La Spezia is located in Italy
La Spezia
La Spezia
Location of La Spezia in Italy
Coordinates: 44°06′N 09°49′E / 44.100°N 9.817°E / 44.100; 9.817Coordinates: 44°06′N 09°49′E / 44.100°N 9.817°E / 44.100; 9.817
CountryItaly
RegionLiguria
ProvinceLa Spezia (SP)
FrazioniBiassa, Campiglia, La Foce, Pitelli, San Venerio, Sarbia
Government
 • MayorMassimo Federici (PD)
Area
 • Total51.39 km2 (19.84 sq mi)
Elevation10 m (30 ft)
Population (1 January 2011),[1] "La Spezia 2007" (Italian)
 • Total95,641
 • Density1,900/km2 (4,800/sq mi)
DemonymSpezzini
Time zoneCET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST)CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code19100, 19121–19126, 19131–19139
Dialing code0187
Patron saintSt. Joseph
Saint dayMarch 19
WebsiteOfficial website
 
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For The airlanding division, see 80 Infantry Division La Spezia (Airlanding).
La Spezia
Comune
Comune della Spezia
Panorama of La Spezia
Panorama of La Spezia
Coat of arms of La Spezia
Coat of arms
La Spezia is located in Italy
La Spezia
La Spezia
Location of La Spezia in Italy
Coordinates: 44°06′N 09°49′E / 44.100°N 9.817°E / 44.100; 9.817Coordinates: 44°06′N 09°49′E / 44.100°N 9.817°E / 44.100; 9.817
CountryItaly
RegionLiguria
ProvinceLa Spezia (SP)
FrazioniBiassa, Campiglia, La Foce, Pitelli, San Venerio, Sarbia
Government
 • MayorMassimo Federici (PD)
Area
 • Total51.39 km2 (19.84 sq mi)
Elevation10 m (30 ft)
Population (1 January 2011),[1] "La Spezia 2007" (Italian)
 • Total95,641
 • Density1,900/km2 (4,800/sq mi)
DemonymSpezzini
Time zoneCET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST)CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code19100, 19121–19126, 19131–19139
Dialing code0187
Patron saintSt. Joseph
Saint dayMarch 19
WebsiteOfficial website

La Spezia (Italian: [la ˈspɛtsi̯a] ( ); Spèza in the local dialect of Ligurian), at the head of the Gulf of La Spezia in the Liguria region of northern Italy, is the capital city of the province of La Spezia. Located between Genoa and Pisa on the Ligurian Sea, it is one of the main Italian military and commercial harbours and hosts the arsenal of the Italian Navy. It is important for its museums, for the Palio del Golfo, and for the railway and boat links with Cinque Terre.

History[edit]

Map of La Spezia (German, late 19th-century)

The area of La Spezia has been settled since pre-historic times. In Roman times the most important centre was Luni, now located in the vicinity of Sarzana (city near La Spezia). Being the capital of the short-lived Niccolò Fieschi Signoria in the period between 1256 and 1273, inevitably linked with the Genoese vicissitudes until the fall of the Republic of Genoa, it grew and changed to develop following the lines of the Ligurian capital. In fact, this Ligurian influence still is visible in the urban layout as well as in the types of buildings and decorations. It can be seen by going along the carrugio, the narrow street dividing the Old Town into two, called Via del Prione taking its name from a pietrone or large stone, in local dialect in fact prione, from where public announcements were read.

Going up from the sea it is possible to see partly hidden, but evident traces of history: engraved stones, capitals, and portals in fourteenth century sandstone, double lancet windows vaguely reminiscent of the future renaissance style, mannerism and baroque pediments, and decorations similar to those adorning the portals of the palaces once belonging to the Doria family and the Princes of Massa.

La Spezia experienced extraordinary development after 1861 when the great naval arsenal there was commissioned by the Royal government. In September 1943 after the Italian capitulation to the Allies, it was the departure port for the Italian Navy when it was ordered to steam into British hands at Malta. The Germans arrived too late to stop the departure of the fleet, so they summarily executed the remaining Italian captains.[citation needed] During the war Italian troopships also left from La Spezia, including the Kaiser Franz Josef, a trans-Atlantic liner launched in Trieste in 1911 for the Austrian Lloyd company, and which Italy had confiscated in 1919. It was sunk in the harbour in La Spezia in 1944.

At the end of the conflict, La Spezia became the point of departure for the survivors from the Nazi concentration camps. From the summer of 1945 to the spring of 1948 more than 23,000 Jews managed to leave Italy clandestinely for Palestine. After lengthy tormented vicissitudes, the ships Fede, Fenice," Komemiut" managed to take away everyone from the Spezia gulf, to the point that on the Israeli geographical maps, La Spezia is called Schàar Zion (Door to Zion).

Main sights[edit]

Churches[edit]

Museums[edit]

Others[edit]

A general view of the city, from the surrounding mountains to the city's port

Climate[edit]

La Spezia has a typical Mediterranean climate, with hot summers, but warm winters and very rainy autumns and springs. The average temperatures of the coldest month (January) are 4° min. and 11° max. In the hottest month (July) they are 20° min and 29° max. Average annual precipitation is 1,314 mm (51.7 in), more than double that in London. Snow is uncommon; it snows about once or twice a year. Heavy snowfalls are exceptional events: only in 1985 has there fallen more than 50 cm (20 in) (the same year which recorded the lowest temperature since 1950: -7 °C). Another big snowfall occurred during the night of 18 December 2009, with approximately 25 cm (9.8 in) of snow.

In winter, if during the night the sky is clear, the temperatures may fall below zero, reaching about -2°, -10 °C (50 °F). Conversely, in summer, especially during sunny days, the temperature can easily exceed 30° and sometimes it reaches 35 °C (95 °F). Furthermore, the sensation of heat in summer is increased by the high humidity.

For the conformation of the territory the city is not exposed to the winds from the north, which lap the western Liguria, but to those from the southeast. These winds bring heavy rain and they can reach 80 km/h (50 mph), causing in some cases the blocking of the port.

Climate data for La Spezia
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)11
(51.8)
11.9
(53.4)
14.5
(58.1)
18.1
(64.6)
22.3
(72.1)
26
(78.8)
28.9
(84.0)
28.2
(82.8)
25.3
(77.5)
20.8
(69.4)
15.7
(60.3)
12.7
(54.9)
19.6
(67.3)
Average low °C (°F)4.2
(39.6)
4.7
(40.5)
6.8
(44.2)
10.3
(50.5)
13.7
(56.7)
17.4
(63.3)
19.7
(67.5)
19.4
(66.9)
16.9
(62.4)
13.1
(55.6)
8.8
(47.8)
5.9
(42.6)
11.7
(53.1)
Precipitation mm (inches)117
(4.6)
109
(4.3)
114
(4.5)
127
(5.0)
58
(2.3)
51
(2.0)
36
(1.4)
53
(2.1)
84
(3.3)
165
(6.5)
201
(7.9)
201
(7.9)
1,316
(51.8)
Source: Enea"La Spezia weather averages". Enea. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 

Notable people[edit]

Economy[edit]

Today, La Spezia is the chief Italian naval station and arsenal and it is the seat of a navigation school. It also is a commercial port, with shipyards and industries producing machinery, metal products, and refined petroleum.

Education[edit]

Since 2002 La Spezia is headquarters of a university named G. Marconi. The university offers seven courses of degrees:

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

La Spezia is twinned with:

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Statistiche demografiche ISTAT". Demo.istat.it. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  2. ^ "Vallejo Sister City". Vallejo Sister City Association. Retrieved 2013-09-11. 

Further reading[edit]

Carlo Alfredo Clerici, Piero Pesaresi. "Le difese costiere della Spezia". Uniformi e Armi, agosto/settembre 1999. Pag. 48 - 53

External links[edit]