La Spezia - In La Spezia, the city where the first Italian submarine was built in 1889 (the “Delfino”, which was one of the first and most advanced of its time), many consider it a joke that now there isn’t even one that you can visit.
As a matter of fact it should have been added to the Military Naval Museum (which is one of the most important museums); there were opportunities, but in the end one submarine was sent to landlocked Milan and one to Genoa, leaving La Spezia high and dry.
Now, although for the moment it is only rusting at a military wharf, there is another candidate that could become La Spezia’s long-anticipated “museum piece,” which could otherwise be pretty much the only city in the world with a naval base and no such attraction.
The submarine is the “Leonardo da Vinci”, identification number S-520, currently docked awaiting either a better future or the blowtorch, after serving as a training vessel. But it seems that it might really happen this time. The plan to make a museum of the vessel is in place, having been developed by a group of volunteers who have been working on it for several years.
Today, according to its promoters, the dream will become a reality, and the plan, which was developed with the support of Promostudi and the approval of the municipal administration, is only waiting for the last formal green light from Rome: “The main sponsors of the project will be the City of La Spezia, the Port System Authority of the Eastern Ligurian Sea, Fincantieri and the Association for the Naval Technical Museum. Their contributions may be financial, in the form of infrastructural projects, but may also involve access to industrial assets and the labour force,” as former Admiral Dino Nascetti, who leads the project and was formerly the chief of La Spezia’s Arsenal, explained in a press release, “we are still waiting on decisions from the Navy. If they approve, the work could begin immediately with the goal of holding the opening ceremony for the project by 2 May, 2019.”
The plan to integrate the Da Vinci into the museum specifies that this project, besides contributing to the enrichment of the museum’s collection of trophies and finds, which is already vast, has the potential to generate additional income for the community through an increase in vistor numbers.
And after all, the successes in Genoa and Milan justify the project in La Spezia. Since 15 August 2015, the submarine “Enrico Toti”, which left the sea forever on 30 June 1999 after more than 30 years of honourable service, has been at Milan’s Leonardo da Vinci Science Museum, where thousands of tourists visit it.
And the “Nazario Sauro”, which was the first floating museum ship to open to visitors, is now docked at the wharf in front of the Galata Museum of the Sea, after its opening ceremony in 2010, and there is certainly no shortage of enthusiasts lining up to visit it.