This was how Ernest Hemingway saw La Spezia, just a few words for an exceptional description: a city made up of large houses and wide streets. The very big size of the building shows the extraordinary development the town has undergone since the second half of the 19th century, the time when the great Naval Arsenal, which the Savoy royal family decided to build, changed its destiny and appearance so radically. This city has an ancient history. La Spezia was the capital of the shortlived Signoria (feudal dominion) ofthe Guelph Niccolò Fieschi, fief opposed to and by Genoa. The influence of Genoa is still perceptible, it can be found while passing through the carrugio which divides the ancient center, the Via del Prione, so-called because of the big stone where the public announcements were read, which is called prione in the dialect of La Spezia. The structure of Ligurian towns is made of carrugi, the narrow streets with the houses built side by side, with medieval tower houses generally built joint to one another for defense reasons, and with small widenings where it was possibile to carry on with commerce and trade activities in general, not in squares but in fields. Such as the Campo degli Agostiniani, today Piazza Sant’Agostino. But the monument which mostly represents the history of the city is without a doubt the Fortress of San Giorgio, located on a small hill called il Poggio.
La Spezia in 1253 became the capital of the lordship of Niccolò Fieschi
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