La Spezia (lä spĕt´syä), city (1991 pop. 101,442), capital of La Spezia prov., in Liguria, NW Italy, on the Gulf of La Spezia (an arm of the Ligurian Sea) and at the eastern end of the Riviera. It is the chief Italian naval station and arsenal and the seat of a navigation school. It is also a commercial port, with shipyards and industries producing machinery, metal products, and refined petroleum. Once a fishing village, La Spezia has been fortified since the Middle Ages. It was badly damaged by Allied bombing in World War II. There is a notable cathedral (14th–16th cent.) in the city; nearby are the ruins of Luna, a Roman town destroyed in the Middle Ages. Along the picturesque Gulf of La Spezia there are several villages celebrated for their beauty, especially Portovenere, Lèrici, and San Terenzo.
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