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SPEZIA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 646 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SPEZIA  , a

city of
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Liguria, Italy, in the province of Genoa, 56 m . S.E. of that
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town by
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rail, 49 ft. above sea-level . Pop . (1906), 41,773 (town); 75,756 (commune); in 1861 only 11,556 . It is the chief
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naval harbour of Italy, having been adopted as such in 1861 . The
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Bay of Spezia is sheltered from all except southerly winds, and on its western
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shore are numerous openings, which afford perfectly safe anchorage in all weathers . The entrance is protected by forts, while a submarine
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embankment, 2 M. long, renders it secure . The
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arsenal consists of three departments, the
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principal of which is 3937 ft. long, with an
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average width of 2460 ft . The chief basin is 23 acres in extent, and the second—connected with the first by a canal 91 ft. wide—36 acres . Both basins have an average
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depth of between 33 and 35 ft . The second basin gives access to the docks, of which there are six; two 390 ft. long, two 420 ft. long, one Soo ft. long, and one 65o ft. long . The establishment of
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San Vito is devoted entirely to the production of artillery; that of San Bartolomeo is exclusively used for electrical
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works and the manufacture of submarine weapons, especially torpedoes .

The arsenal wasconstructed by

General Chiodo (d . 1870), whose statue rises at the entrance, and near it are the naval barracks and hospital: Though the town itself, with the barracks and military hospital as its principal buildings, presents little to attract the
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foreign visitor, the beauty of the gulf and of the neighbouring country has brought Spezia into some repute as a winter resort, and it is also visited in summer for sea-bathing . The walls and gates of the old city are for the most
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part destroyed . The opening of a railway across the Apennines (there is a branch leaving the coast
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line at Vezzano, and joining the line from
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Sarzana at S . Stefano di Magra), placed Spezia in communication with
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Parma and the most fertile regions of the Po valley, and so stimulated commerce that a new commercial
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port to the east of the city was built . This harbour consists of a broad quay with 657 ft. of wharfage, and of a mole 1639 ft. long with 984 ft. of wharfage . The basin of the harbour is about 26 ft. deep . A branch railway connects the wharves directly with the main line . Since the opening of the new port the
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traffic has considerably increased, and it exports oil, pig-lead,
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silver,
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flour, wine, marble and
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sandstone for paving' purposes, while it imports quantities of
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coal, iron, cereals,
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phosphates,
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timber, pitch, petroleum, and
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mineral oils . The import of coal in 1906 was 439,494 tons, being nearly double the average for 1901-1905 . The
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tonnage of vessels entered was over 600,000, an increase of about 25% on that of 1905 . Several important
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industrial establishments lie along the bay, including large lead and silver works at Pertusola (see Laiuci), submarine cable works, a shipyard at Muggiano for the construction of mercantile vessels up to ro,000 tons, a branch of the Vickers Terni works for armour
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plate, several motorboat works, brick and tile works, &c .

The origin of Spezia is doubtful; but it probably

rose after the destruction of Luna . Sold by one of the Fieschi in 1276 to Genoa, the town was fortified by its new possessors and made the seat of a governor of some importance . It became a city in the 16th century . The idea of making the Gulf of Spezia a
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great naval centre was first broached by
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Napoleon I .

End of Article: SPEZIA
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