Stay Under the Ligurian Sun
Apartment | 1 bedrooms | sleeps 4
The apartment is situated in the heart of the historical centre of La Spezia, in a building near the central road of Via Del Prione, the famous down-town shopping area. Just a few minutes walking distance from the train station, from where you can reach Cinque Terre (Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso) famous for their beaches, winery, and national park where there are ample walks/hikes of various levels. The apartment is in a well maintained building to accommodate 1 to 4 people. Lift/elevator available in the building. There is a large balcony in the lounge as well as sofa bed in the lounge area. There is a double bed in the bederoom. The bathroom contains a tub with shower overhead. The kitchen is equipped with a gas burner stove and oven. Located in Liguria on the Tuscany border, the apartment is only 2km from the coastal motorway, and between Pisa and Genoa airports (Ryanair, Easyjet, etc). La Spezia (a main rail connection for northern Italy towards Milan, Lake Como or southern Italy towards Rome, Naples) represents an affordable option to discover Liguria and Tuscany. Located in a centralized location close to train transport towards the beaches and treks/hikes of Cinque Terre (8 min). We are close to the sandy beaches of Lerici, Portovenere and Portofino. Also great to explore the main cultural Italian cities such as Genoa, Florence, Pisa, Siena, and Lucca. The ideal stop over on the north/south Italian coastal route.
|Size||Sleeps up to 4, 1 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Cinque Terre, San Terenzo, Le Grazie, Portovenere 5 km|
|Will consider||Long term lets (over 1 month), Short breaks (1-4 days)|
|Access||Car not necessary|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Galilei of Pisa- Colombo of Genoa 80 km, Nearest railway: La spezia central station 1 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages, Suitable for people with restricted mobility|
|Notes||Pets welcome, Yes, smoking allowed|
Features and Facilities
|General||Central heating, TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Utilities||Cooker, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||1 bedroom, 1 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms|
|Furniture||1 Sofa beds, Double beds (1), Dining seats for 8, Lounge seats for 3|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided|
|Outdoors||Balcony or terrace|
The North West Italy region
Located in Liguria on the Tuscany border, the apartment is only 2km from the costal motorway, between Pisa and Genoa airports (Ryanair). It is in La Spezia (main north/south rail connection). This is the affordable way to discover Liguria and Tuscany, a good location to get to the Cinque Terre in 8 minutes ride and we are close to the sandy beaches of Lerici , Portovenere and Portofino. also great to explore the main cultural Italian cities such as Florence, Pisa and Lucca. It is also the ideal stop over on the north/south Italian coastal route.
The apartment is in the historical centre of La Spezia in via ferruccio 16, at a few minutes walking distance from the train station, from where you can reach Cinque Terre in 10 minutes ride. In a few minutes on foot from the apartments, you may easily reach Porto Mirabello, the parking place of tourist coaches and the dock to go to Cinque Terre, Portovenere, Lerici and Portofino.
The apartment is situated in the heart of the historical centre of La Spezia close to Piazza del Mercato, where every day a very traditional open-air market takes place. There you may find fresh vegetable and fruit, fish, meat and a few stands selling clothes.
In a few minutes on foot you may visit important museums such as: Museo Amedeo Lia, the Naval Museum and the Modern Art and Conemporary Museum (Camec).
Availability Your dates are available
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2 Sep 2014
"Great option if traveling with children"
Nice, cute apt in central La Spezia, in the midst of great shopping and resturuants and fairly to train station.
Federico and Bernadette were absolutely charming and a delight to work with!
Highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area.
25 Jul 2014
Lovely apartment, well equipped and has a quirky appeal. La Spezia much nicer than anticipated and some fabulous restaurants close by, for me the bed was a little uncomfortable, but at the price we pa… More
4 Jul 2014
Nice apartment, great view over the hills and town. very helpful owners, helped us to park as parking is a nightmare, they gave us a parking space which was free and safe. They seemed to want to e… More
1 Jul 2014
"Close to everything"
Our hosts were charming. Condo is in the pedrale..safe. close walk to harbor for day trips to Cinque Terre. Lots of restaurants.
23 Jun 2014
"Classical Italian Beauty on the Mediterranean"
I am loathe to give an honest review, because if I do, and the property becomes too popular to book any more, then I will have shot my chances of getting back to it. However, I am reminded that it's not like I get to travel to Italy more than once every other year, so the risk is fairly minimal. This is a great apartment to rent in a great town to visit. The apartment building is a classical style of Italian post-colonial period construction. It has a miniature elevator in which is is tight to fit one person with any notable luggage, but it has the charm of being a herald from the 1950s era. The unit has no A/C, but fans are available to cool off in the hottest times of year, and the tall ceilings and window shutters do a good job of isolating the hot air that gets in, and minimizes the sun during the middle of the day. All told, during my June visit, with outdoor temps in the 80s F (upper 20s, low 30s C), it never felt hot inside. You will probably want to sleep with the windows open at night, even though that means listening to the cackling of the gulls that at times sound like birds, at times like South American monkeys, at times like feral alley cats (this is indeed the gulls), and at times like infant children.
The unit is ample room for one, and would be a comfortable spot for a couple. If you are a small family with children, and feel you can brave the one bathroom for all, then it's a very economical way to travel as a group. It would also be suited for about 3 college friends on a travel bender; more than that, and you'd best be very cozy friends. The main bed is made up of two mattresses, and there is a ridge down the middle, but you probably won't find it to be a serious obstruction to your sleep, not matter what your arrangement, or how many of you there are. There are plenty of alternative linens in the bedroom that they will show to you, if you find you need them for any reason.
Renting an apartment has the distinct advantage of not feeling entirely like an outsider- it enhances the immersive element of the travel, and yet this unit was not without the standards of comfort a traveler would expect. The landlords may be the best part of the unit, which is to say they are very helpful in making contact, and ensuring you have what you need. The landlords' parents live close to the unit, and it was they who actually met me at the door and showed me around the apartment. Nothing requires advanced instructions, but it's good to get an orientation to the place, especially the placement of necessities, during a quick walkthrough. They were terribly nice people. The father of the owner is an old sailor, himself, and kindly reminisced about voyages he had taken when younger, pointing out some photos from the wall. He speaks enough English to make the orientation overview useful. If you speak any Italian, it will help some- for simple things like, "Dove esta ____?" ("where is _____?").
The unit has three features that one should not overlook- a full kitchen, a washing machine (machina di lavaggio), and a handheld wifi unit (security is maintained by a unit-specific password). These all made a real difference to me. While I didn't spend enough time there to cook a meal, having the option is a nice way to again immerse in the local life; there are grocery stores steps from the building entrance, including one called Italcity, which is in a building catty corner to a phenomenal restaurant on the first floor of the apartment building (Acronia... more on this below). The landlords made sure the fridge was stocked with a few simple necessities that made travel easier, including a filled bottle of cold water, and fruit juice, some butter and other simple things. Tea was readily available in the kitchen; for coffee, just stumble outside to any coffee bar any time of day and get some of the local espresso that glides onto the tongue in gorgeous peals of cocoa marvelousness for about 1.5 Euro. I cannot overstate how it made my arrival so much more welcoming to be able to crack open some cold water on a warm summer day when I had been lugging around two bags (on a 2-week trip between Germany and Italy).
The washing machine is a blessing to have before you have to depart, as it makes it possible to both travel lighter, and repack neatly again before taking off, wherever you're headed next. Laundry detergent is on hand, but again, if you need something else, the groceries are not far away. Just remember to do your shopping in the morning as most retail shops will close by 13:00... makes no sense to me, but that's one of the quirks of traveling in Italy. The wifi unit was more than a simple convenience, as being able to use an iPad, or other travel computer, you can do so much more route planning and location spotting while in town. Getting up to the minute train and bus schedules is not to be underestimated in importance (Google Maps tracks the public transportation schedules and is a good alternative to the Italian websites). I used this in a trip to a nearby winery (30 min by car, 1:15 by bus), taking a bus, and the ability to use Google Maps to plan the route down to the bus stops and times was critical for making the trip a success. It's one thing to research which bus stop you are supposed to get off at, but another entirely to be able to track your progress along a route to see when you arrive at this bus stop to which you've never been before. That decreased the stress level of finding the winery tremendously. I am very glad that I was able to use the provided handheld/portable wifi by taking it in my backpack and thereby enhancing the iPad's utility. ...tremendously helpful, and it ought to be similarly useful if taking ferry or car trips to nearby towns like Vezzano Ligure, or Porto Venere. As a complimentary add-on to the unit, this is far more valuable than the location-specific wifi you get at a hotel.
Back to food- the Acronia restaurant is one of the best spots I've yet been to in Italy. Acronia, literally, Timeless, has a comparatively unique menu, though. This is no pizzeria, and not a typical trattoria. Acronia serves meat. By the plateful. There are a couple of salads to boot, but the main reason to come is for the carne. For anyone catching the Paleo Diet bug, this is a dream come true. For everyone else, it's just plain sumptuous. I won't go into over-much detail here, as this is a review of the apartment, and I will review Acronia separately, but it is important to note that Acronia is FAR better than the surrounding restaurants (like Trittico), and is in the same building in which this rental unit sits. If you do go, order the item referred to as the "text-ceramic sausage"... this is an attempt to translate "meaty ambrosia in a small frypan." If you do not go to Acronia, you deserve to be flogged while hanging from a yard-arm, which I think they still do in the nearby Military Marina (Marina Militare).
The other principal highlight of this unit is its location, one which makes it impossible to oversell the convenience factor. You are 2 blocks from the main taxi stand and bus stops on Via Chiodo, another 2 (through the Garibaldi park) to the ferries to Porto Venere and Cinque Terra along the Spezia boardwalk, and a walkable distance through the main shopping pedestrale to/from the train station (stazioni di treni). I have to amend the landlords' instructions, though, as it took me a while to find the place using their instructions, even though I'd been to La Spezia before. So, follow these:
Arrival by Train-
-Best to have a few Euros in the pocket separate from a wallet that you can pull out for a bottle of water, if you feel you'll want that along the way. Exit il stationzi di treni to the street out front (you have no options, anyway), but resist the urge to get somewhere immediately by crossing the parking lot or heading down the stone steps beyond that. Instead, turn immediately left, and head along the sidewalk in front of the station. You will see the red gingerbread man sculpture that looks like a misappropriated shopping mall Christmas decoration, but this is also on the other side of some asphalt, so continue toward ahead, left along the front of the building (East). Over and/or behind your left shoulder should be the clock over the main entrance.
-From this sidewalk, continue down the street (literally downhill) past the hotels named for other Italian cities (Hotel Firenze on the opposite side of the street, Hotel Venezia on the same side), until you find yourself approaching a large traffic circle (that's a "roundabout" for all the Brits out there) with several streets connecting from different angles. Continue down the sidewalk you are on until you get to a crosswalk about 50 yards (50 M) from the start of the traffic circle.
-Take care not to play chicken with the Italian drivers, for while you may have the right of way under local laws, the right of way goes to their cars according the laws of physics, and the drivers seem to prefer those. Once safely across, you will find yourself in a rather open plaza (Piazza S. Bon) with a sidewalk continuing along the same street you just crossed (XX Septembre), and a few others heading out at diagonals from the center. Take the next one to the right; this is the largest, and most obvious pedestrale street, and will be heading East by Southeast. If you want extra assurance you are on the right track, look for the plaques embedded into the buildings calling this Via Fiume. One block ahead, Via Fiume opens into Piazza Garibaldi, which has white metal structures that look a bit like greenhouses in the midst of the piazza. Go straight through to the other side, same direction you were heading. Via Fiume turns into Via del Prione. Passing a few more cross alleys, you will come to another piazza, Piazza R. Ginoccio, which has a large, notable fountain in the middle. If you want to stop for a gelato, or an ATM, both are here. Gelaterias are also a good place to get a bottle of cold water (still- naturale, or sparkling- frizzante). Again, continue down Via del Prione. This stretch to the next piazza is the longest one, and involves weaving past a number of shoppers, their meandering children, and dogs with their dog walkers. You will also surely find street buskers plying their trade to try to sell nicknacks no one needs, and the occasional street performer whose target audience is exactly you. If you break out a camera for them, they will pander just enough to try to get a tip from you for their efforts. No harm in giving them something except you may attract pickpockets, too. Probably best to pass them by while you have your luggage in tow. Continuing down Via del Prione, you will eventually get to an open square, again, this one called Piazza Mentana, but the more obvious feature is the Teatro Civico (Civic Theater), which will be ahead and on the right as you enter that square. Stop here momentarily, and follow the rest of the instructions immediately below.
From Teatro Civico (Civic Theater)-
-To get to the apartment, turn North (left, if coming from the train station, right, if coming from a bus or taxi), and head up one block. It doesn't matter whether you use the street to the left (Via Cavolotti) or right (Via Fazio) of the building opposite the theater, for the apartment building is just the other side of this one (two buildings directly north of the theater). Well, there are two such buildings on that block along the cross street of Via Ferruccio, and one is #6, the other #16. You want #6, the one to the left as you are facing them. Since the signage for Via Ferruccio is not visible until after you pass it, keep an eye out for the Trittico signs, instead. If you come up Via Cavolotti, you will pass the Trittico pizzeria. If you go up Via Fazio, you will see a sign for Trittico at the corner with Via Ferruccio. #6 is right across the street from Trittico. The entry for #6 has glass doors with heavy metal bars along the front of them. There is a call box to the right. You will buzz the unit specified by the landlords once you have arranged to rent the unit. From there you will be greeted by one of the landlords or (seemingly more likely) the parents of the landlords.
Arrival by bus-
Get out of the bus at the Via Chiodo stop. This is a major bus stop alongside the main civic park; most of the bus will empty out here. Nearby is the statue of Garibaldi on a horse, and opposite is the Naval Museum. You will cross Via Chiodo at the nearest crosswalk. It runs opposite the main concourse running through the park (Via Armando Diaz), so in looking behind you, you will notice cabs lined up in the park, and people walking toward the water. You should go the opposite direction, toward and along Via del Prione. Only one block in, you will come to Piazza Mentana and the Teatro Civico. From there, follow the same instructions as above.
Arrival by taxi-
Have the cab drop you off at Via Chiodo in the Garibaldi Park ("Via Chiodo a Via Armando Diaz, per favore"), at the main taxi stop. Armando Diaz runs through the park, but across Via Chiodo, turns into a pedestrian-only strip (pedestrale) of Via del Prione. Couldn't be easier for the driver or for you. One block in, you will find Piazza Mentana and the Teatro Civico. Follow the instructions from here as above.
Finding an ATM: There are three bank-controlled ATMs (bancomats) -not privately owned machines- within eyesight and rock-kicking distance of the Teatro's front steps. If you can't find one of these, ask politely, "Mi scuzzi, dove esta il bancomat?" but be prepared for a strange look, as a local points out the obvious to you.
For more reference points, see the Google Map of La Spezia (https://www.google.com/maps/place/La+Spezia+SPfirstname.lastname@example.org,9.8216948,18z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x12d4fcc0baf15ead:0x323287ad285a4f80) or this online copy of a tourist map commonly provided in the local hotels (http://www.mappery.com/maps/Spezia-Map.jpg).
PS- As a courtesy, don't rent this unit while I'm planning to be in town.
15 Jun 2014
"Second-to-none service :)"
We booked this place in La Spezia for one night to enjoy the region during our holiday. However, something went wrong and the wrong date had been submitted and accepted. Bernadette and Federico were… More
8 Jun 2014
"Beautiful, clean apartment close to everything I needed on the Riviera Ligure"
My family is from La Spezia and this was a trip to visit family but with space for self. Bernadette and Federico were fantastic to deal with as was Federico's parents who could not do enough for us. I locked myself out one morning as the wind closed the door and Federico's father was there in a very short time with a spare key. The apartment is located in the heart of La Spezia in the city centre and is a short walk from the main train station. Cafe's shops, restaurants and bars are all at your doors step as is the "molo" seaside walk. Public transport is easily accessible with trains and bus stops all at your door. Whilst I have been to La Spezia many, many times staying with relatives, I can say that the location and proximity of this apartment is excellent for trips to the Ligurian Riviera, i.e Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, Camogli, Genova whether you're driving or catching a train. It is of course the gateway to Le Cinque Terre and all of these can be accessed via train. Don't miss other beautiful spots near by such as Portovenere, Le Grazie, Lerici, Tellaro. Close to highways and just over an hours drive to Emilia Romagna and under an hour you're in Toscana. La Spezia also has a ferry that travels to Sardegna so you could still rent the apartment and have a few days away elsewhere.
8 Jun 2014
"Great value, very authentic"
We decided to stay in La Spezia to reduce our costs a little but still have the opportunity to visit Cinque Terre. We had a 4 year old and 18mth old at the time. The apartment was as described and in a great pedestrian only location. It was a little challenging to locate and parking in the vicinity is expensive or hard to come by but the owners parents assisted us to the best of their ability. Internet caused us a few head aches as it is a hot spot but again the owners did all they could to help us. It is a traditional building and most definitely provided us with the authentic experience we were hoping for. I would stay again! (Ps a few more towels would be great)
8 Jun 2014
"Ampio e luminoso"
L'appartamento è ampio e luminoso, situato in zona centrale ma non caotica. Il proprietario è una persona cortese, l'appartamento corrisponde a quanto descritto. Il giudizio è solo nella … More
1 Dec 2013
My wife and I were delighted with this apartment! It is even better than described. Fully equipped kitchen, quite spacious with a small balcony to boot. Just a block off the major pedestrian street… More
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