Spotlight On: La Spezia

L spezia

Located at the top of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Port of La Spezia provides valuable access to central Europe via the Northwest coast of Italy. Find out more about Italy’s “Spice” in this article.

The Port of La Spezia

The Port of La Spezia has more than five kilometres of docks, which provide access for a complete range of goods. From containers to cereals, gas, oil, and minerals, La Spezia can process it all.

Within the port area, there are three multipurpose terminals, two container terminals, two oil terminals, two terminals for cereals, a terminal each for petroleum and alimentary oils, and three bulk terminals – two of which are dedicated to concrete.

Additionally, the infrastructure of the La Spezia port area facilitates quick unloading of vessels and redistribution onto rail or road transport for rapid delivery to inland markets. 

It’s this combination of location and operational capacity that makes the Port of La Spezia one of the strongest access points for trade in Northern Italy. Every week, vessels call at La Spezia for connection to six out of the seven continents.

La Spezia’s port already handles more than 20 million tonnes of cargo every year, yet continues to hold strong growth prospects and plans for the future.

The history of the Port of La Spezia

The area of La Spezia has been occupied since the Bronze and Iron Ages, and was in use during the Roman era. The port became part of the Byzantine Empire during the Gothic Wars against the Romans in the seventh century, and later came under the jurisdiction of the Francs in the eighth century. During the ninth century, the city was repeatedly plundered by pirates and Normans.

By the 13th century, the Port of La Spezia had grown into a key trade hub for the area. It was then that the city built Saint George’s Castle, but this was burnt down when the Genoese took over the city. It was restored in 1343 and the city was reinforced with five more defence towers.

The Port of La Spezia prospered under the Republic of Genoa’s rule, becoming an important trade centre for Italy and Europe. It withstood the tests of siege and Black Death throughout the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries – finally succumbing to Napolean in the late 18th century with the fall of the Republic of Genoa. La Spezia was later annexed to France in 1805 and became a military port in 1808.

Throughout the 19th century, La Spezia was reinforced with an arsenal and began growing in maritime trade as well as military might. It became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.

In the 20th century, La Spezia was an important military position during World War I and World War II. Despite heavy damage from Allied bombings, the city remained strong.

Following the wars, the city was no longer reliant on military might so the reconstruction of defences was not considered important when rebuilding the city. Today, the port is no longer a stronghold, but an important area for tourism, industrialism, shipbuilding, and trade.

Customs Support La Spezia

Customs Support La Spezia is located near the container terminal on the most northern berth. Two-thirds of our personnel work with import declarations and export clearances.

Additionally, we provide customs consultancy at our La Spezia office – helping businesses like yours with goods classificationAEO certification, and customs permit applications.

Did you know:

  • La Spezia Naval Museum is the largest of its kind in Italy.
  • There is evidence of civilisation in the La Spezia area as far back as the Stone Age, as depicted in the stelae statues held within the Civic Museum.
  • The famous composer Richard Wagner got his inspiration for his first opera, Das Rheingold, during a dream whilst visiting La Spezia. 
  • The Gulf of La Spezia is also known as The Gulf of Poets.
  • In 1997 Porto Venere, the islands Palmaria, Tino, Tinetto and the Cinque Terre were included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • The authors Percy B. and Mary Shelley travelled to Lerici and Santerenzo.

Need help with customs in the Port of La Spezia?

Customs Support is here for you. Supported by our colleagues and customs consultants across Italy and the rest of Europe, you can rely on us for timely, accurate, and compliant customs services in the Port of La Spezia. Contact us for more information.