a VirtualTourist member
Hi! I will be living in La Spezia from May to August this summer and I am looking for some interesting ideas for weekend trips. Of course I want to go to the Cinque Terre, Florence, Pisa and I am looking at visiting Lake Garda. Any other ideas? I am open to anything, would love to see a nice mountain town/village. Thank you in advance!
Try the Borromean Islands near the town of Stresa on Lago Maggiore.
How about a day trip to Portofino?
Lucca, Portovenere, Agentario, Rapallo, Camogli and Santa Margherita are other place sto consider.
You could include Genoa and nearby area while staying in La Spezia. Genoa is unique, has great character, it's a big city with soul. Filled with caruggi (narrow streets) reflecting old Ligurian traditions. A journey there will always stay in your memory! Really a unique place in Italy. Make sure you linger in the Port area and the old city.
Nearby, visit Santa Margherita Ligure, a beautiful seaside town, and Rapallo, for a good taste of local life. There's also Portofino, a beautiful small harbour in the area, although I wasn't overly impressed by the place -- probably because it drew too many tourists and it was raining heavily when I was there. Be that as it may, even Portofino and surroundings are beautiful and worth exploring.
But Genoa alone (though a big city) is really worth it, & will give you a unique view of Italy. Try to make it to Bocadasse, an old mariner's neighbourhood in Genoa, for total relaxation and contemplation of the Mediterranean.
If you have a chance, listen to Fabrizio de André's Crêuza de mä album before and during your stay around Genoa. It will colour your experience there in a most genuine way. Fabrizio is Genoa to me!
If you like smaller towns, look at Sarzana with its connection to Napoleon and interesting fortress. A cobblestone village above La Spezia is Fosdinova where there are hiking trails, wine tasting and a castle. There are also amazing views from the village. It's beautiful.
Enjoy your time in the area. It's very pretty and very friendly.
And from Lucca you may go up in the valley and reach Pontremoli, around which you can spen a week-end and experience some good medium altitude mountain environment and taste the unique "testaroli" (that cannonly be eaten either with "pesto" or exceptionally with mushrooms: don't ask for other unappropriate combinations)
This is one of my favourite areas in Italy with choices galore for little trips:
Chiavari in Liguria is further up the coast beyond the Cinque Terre. This is a lovely small city/large town with a daily (except Sunday) morning market, arcades and beautiful architecture, piazzas, cafes and bars, osterie and trattorie serving traditional Ligurian specialities. Walk the promenade or the arcades at passegiata time, visit the beaches and see the marina.
The Sturla valley which exits the rear of Chiavari through Carasco traverses up and over via lots of mountainside villages to Santo Stefano d'Aveto.
The Lunigiana over the border in Tuscany has interesting Roman history; Pontremoli, Fivizzano and the other villages are all in beautiful locations.
The Massa Carrara region including the Carrara marble quarries, the quarried marble was carved by Michelangelo.
The extent of your journeys will depend on using public transport or your own vehicle.
This is the website to find all the most beautiful villages in Italy:
Usually my answers are a little longer with some explanation, but I answered near bedtime last evening. My wife and I were in Stresa for 3 nights last May. This was actually the last place I had scheduled in our almost 3 week trip to Europe last year. The day trip we spent on the 3 small Borromean Islands was one of the highlights of our trip. We enjoyed everything they had to offer and especially enjoyed the strutting white peacocks all around 2 of the islands. We also stayed at a wonderful old villa converted into a semi B & B hotel at the edge of town. My Stresa pages have more information. A little farther from La Spezia, actually near Rome, we did a day trip to Tivoli and enjoyed the old town and the Villa d'Este. Also enjoyed our dinner that evening next to some ancient ruins overlooking the valley below.
I loved riorich55`s travel pages on the Borromean Islands. You can see it at [original VT link]
Thank you! I really need to continue to add more tips and pictures to those pages. I have a whole bunch more.
You're funny Rich. I already put the link in. I hope they check it from one of our posts. I bookmarked it because we really want to see it.
Egg on my face . . . you simply copied. Sigh . . .
I'll never get used to this copy feature. Apologies and I still hope they look at it. It's a great Review.
Just use "Quote and Reply" button. Did add another tip on a different page. Hard to figure out where to put these individual tips. Added these to my Lago Maggiore page.
[original VT link]
Oops! That's the "Quote and Answer" Button.