One thing that struck us about La Spezia was the size of the Naval Dockyard: it is huge!! When we drove past La Spezia heading for Portovenere we took a small road and drove along the naval dockyard for quite some distance. It spreads along the coast for some km, and it is obviously restricted to visitors. Looks like as it is of major importance in naval defense.
Finally we stopped at a higher point and were able to watch it from the distance. Also, from the opposite side of that road the view towards Portovenere is breathtaking!!
Walk and see many naval ships if you like it. I was afraid of taking pics there so my pic is from the net, hmm... I'm sure you can see each of naval ships in many internet pages :-).
La Spezia is a modern town which as developed since the buiding of the naval dockyard (1860-65) conceived by Cavour and planned by Domenico Chiodo.
Favorite thing: I really did not give much thought to La Spezia. It was just a place to stay while visiting the Le Cinque Terre. All I really heard or read about it was that it was a 'Naval Port'.It is true.....there are sailors eveywhere. But I was pleasantly surprised. It was a nice city by the sea with orange trees and palm trees. No wonder so many famous poets,writers and artists including Byron and Shelley stayed here.