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La Spezia, Italy

Our next destination was to visit the Cinque Terre coast of Italy but for the best logistics we stayed in nearby La Spezia and made use of the Italian train system instead of driving.

On our drive to La Spezia from where we’d been staying between Florence and Siena, we stopped and had lunch in Pisa.  It was crowded, lots of tourist, so we only caught a glimpse of the leaning tower on our way out, deciding not to stop and fight the crowds.

La Spezia was our first experience with accommodations in an Italian city.

“La Spezia, 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.” ~ Wikipedia

Our rooms were in an older building with apartments on the upper floors located about a block from the La Spezia Train Station. At first we weren’t sure if these accommodations were going to be safe…a questionable section of town, iron bars, locked gates and multiple doors.  But once we got in they were fine for their purpose…marching bands in the middle of the night and all.

La Spezia was an interesting town.  We had only a little time spent in two evenings to explore on foot, but soon discovered there could be a great variance of discernible affluence and architectural style from one street to the next.

We had one of our worst Italian food experiences in La Spezia after visiting what could only be considered an Italian fast seafood establishment on the recommendation of a local. It consisted of deep fried seafood…mostly squid and octopus by the time we got there.   The locals however seemed to love it as the there was always a line of customers trailing out onto the sidewalk. We didn’t understand the attraction.

Photo five on was made using the Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens mounted on  the Olympus E-M5.  What a tack sharp and fast little combination this is. Wonderful for street shots…even late in the evening.






6 Comments on La Spezia, Italy

  1. I was not expecting to hear about a bad experience with food but I guess we will most certainly have those. After looking through you images I was wondering if you took a tripod or if all these late evening shots were handheld. The mood of those last few images are warm and inviting. So, now I want to travel there and buy a new camera, as both will make me a better photographer. :-)
    Monte Stevens recently posted… I Also Apologize

    • While you can find bad food everywhere we were not expecting it here since we were on the coast and this place served seafood recommended by a local and had a long line of people waiting. Perhaps being Americans they thought we only liked fast food. :-)

      No tripod…all Italy shots are handheld. Monte, it may not make you a better photographer but visiting Italy can make you an excited photographer from so much rich photographic material.

  2. Paul Maxim // 7 Aug ’12 at 12:12 pm // Reply

    Some great images here, Earl. My favorite is the blue rowboat. I’ve photographed lots of rowboats in New England but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a blue one. Must be an Italian thing………..

    Like Monte, I also like the late evening shots. I’m guessing the EM5 jacked the ISO up a bit for these? Can’t see any noise, though.

    • Thanks, Paul. I saw a number of boats that shade of blue — I agree, must be an Italian thing.

      I looked back over the meta data for the last 7 evening shots and there’s a reason you can’t see any noise. The highest ISO used was 640 on the next to the last photo (man on bike in street). These last 7 shots used aperture settings between f/1.7 – f/2.8 and shutter speeds ranging between 1/15 and 1/125 sec. The sidewalk restaurant photo, 4th from the end, was at 1/15 sec. I have a pretty steady hand, but the Olympus image stabilizer, built into the body so it works on all lens, is very good too making shots like this possible, with a little luck.

      I was shooting in aperture priority using the speed of the lens and letting the camera take care of the rest.

      Who needs no stinkin’ flash! ;-)

    • I am honored by this mention on “” and I enjoyed our visit to your beautiful country and it’s wonderful people.

      I think perhaps it was not that the fried fish in La Spezia was bad but that all our other experiences with Italian food was so very good making the “fried” seem a little too American! :-)

      I hope to return someday and enjoy your wonderful hospitality again. Thank-you!

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