A former fishing village at the border of two enchanting regions, La Spezia offers easy access to Tuscany and its great cities like Florence and Pisa and the Liguria's rugged coast and terraced villages known as Cinque Terre.
The One Thing You Don't Want to Miss
The celebrated Cinque Terre ("The Five Cities") coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of Italy's greatest jewels. The five small villages dotting the coast are completely free of car traffic and can be reached only by a railway, hiking trails, or a pedestrian ferry. Small, winding paths connect many of the villages, and a light amount of hiking will afford you some spectacular views of cliffs, coastline, and stone terraces.
Fun Things to Do
- Shop for souvenirs at the famed Ponte Vecchio in Florence.
- Explore the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, home to works by Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Rubens.
- Visit the Field of Miracles in Pisa, and discover one of the world's most amazing sights - the Campanile, or Leaning Tower. Learn the fascinating details about this famous bell tower.
- Take a scenic drive through the Tuscan countryside, enjoying its soft, rounded hills, the medieval architecture of its villages and the silver green of the olive trees mingling with the dark-green of the cypress trees. Stop in a local winery to sample some of its delicious product.
Get a Taste of Local Flavor
Try fazzoletti, pasta filled with ricotta cheese and spinach. Other Northern Italian specialties are: ribollita, a variation on minestrone; papardelle, broad noodles; stracotto, a beef stew with beans; and bistecca alla fiorentina, a charcoal-grilled T-bone steak marinated in olive oil and black pepper.
The Euro (EUR), the currency of the European Union, is the official currency of Italy. Many stores and restaurants also accept major credit cards, which usually offer you a good exchange rate. When shopping, remember there is a Value-Added Tax.
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