The Retirees return to Italy – On board the SS Costa Diadema – La Spezia.

After sailing all night passing the lights of the islands of Giannutri and Giglo, we arrive at La Spezia. This huge ship reverses into the berth by the wharf. We can see all the tour buses lined up waiting for us and the town is awaking to another visit by tourists.

After breakfast and before our tour, we stroll the ship and find the basketball court, the adventure castle and Peppa Pig water park.

We have some free time in La Spezia. This is very close to Cinque Terra which is to the north so there are some aspects that seem familiar such as the colours of the buildings along the shore. In the town, there is a strange church on Piazza Europa and the buildings are very grand. An adjoining square has these simple but effective sculptures highlighting the unitary colours of the buildings around. Mandarin trees laden with fruit line the streets. Not a lot to see or do but the stroll through the town and along the waterfront is very enjoyable. It gives us a chance to see our ship at berth and take a portrait.

After we have lunch, I am a little ashamed to say, we went to a shopping village by bus. Even so it allowed us to see some of the rural areas outside of La Spezia and like most of Italy there were always hilltop villages in view. But I have withheld the shopping photos through embarrassment. We visited one of those villages, Sarzana which of course had a Roman heritage and was one of the towns controlled by the Medici family in the middle ages. The bus dropped us off outside of the town walls so that we entered through the Town Gate and then proceeded to the top of the wall for a view down the main street. Crossing to the other side we came across a Medici fortress with its clone on the hilltop behind the town. It was here we lost the rest of the tour and made our own investigations.

Kerry and I followed the streets through typical Italian village squares (Piazzas), past remnant pieces of history such as the village well now water fountain, workshops (this one being the workshop of a motorbike restorer), the memorial to lives lost in conflict beside a children’s merry-go-round, houses built on remnant parts of the old wall, and a building that appeared to be something to do with injured servicemen. The village is very much alive and a place still in use but having its roots in Roman times. Times up and we fight the evening traffic to return to Diadema, dinner and bed.

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Retired Australian Lawyer having worked representing the innocent and the not so innocent in Australia and some of the remote parts of the world and having travelled widely through Europe, Western Russia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Thailand Malaysia Solomon Islands northern China, Hong Kong and the UAE So now that I have the time I am writing about my travels present and past. Hope you enjoy exploring off the beaten track.