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The road between La Spezia and Portovenere

The road connecting La Spezia and Portovenere, opportunely named Via Napoleonica, was built in order to provide access to the future Military Arsenal and the city Napoleonia, projects that Napoleon planned for the western coast of the Gulf of La Spezia. The road brushes the banks of the Ligurian Sea, skirting the Gulf and reaching Portovenere passing by picturesque marine towns along the way, rich in history and sea air.

The history of the road begins in 1807, when the colonel Morlaincourt was invited by the French Emperor to inspect the Gulf of La Spezia. In his memoire the colonel examined the state of the existing fortifications and drew up a preliminary general plan of defence, within which the proposal emerged for a road leading from La Spezia to Portovenere. One year later, on 5 July 1808, Napoleon decreed the construction of the connecting road, at the same time scheduling the building of the Via della Cisa which was to connect La Spezia and Parma.
The project was carried out by Graziano Lepére, head engineer of the Apennine Department and the work began a month after the decree in the presence of the viceroy Eugenio Beauharnais and was tested in December 1812. The road between La Spezia and Portovenere was the first modern road to overlook the Gulf and constituted the ’beam axle’ of the local military organization.


La Spezia –  Portovenere