La Spezia sits at the head of the gulf of the same name, yet is also known as the Gulf of Poets in
deference to Byron, Dante and others who were drawn here by its beauty. The establishment of Italy's largest naval base in the 19th-century propelled the town from minor port to provincial capital, and the old public buildings date from that era. La Spezia has excellent road and rail links, plus the private airport of Luni nearby. Within easy sailing distance are the isles of Tino and Palmaria, while a little
further away are Elba and Corsica. The Porto Lotti Boat Show is held in the spring.