I have been to … the Technical Naval Museum, La Spezia

During our recent cruise we stopped off in La Spezia, Italy, and whilst we were there Sue and I managed to pay a visit to the Museo Tecnico Navale (Technical Naval Museum). It is located just to one side of the main entrance of the Naval Arsenal in La Spezia, and when we visited it was in the process of going through a refurbishment. This meant that we were only able to visit a small section of the Museum … but it does give us a good excuse to go back there at some time in the future!

Having paid our entrance fee of 1.55 Euros each, we made our way through the gateway and out into the open area behind the entrance. This gave us access to a number of interlinked, single-story buildings as well as a number of memorials.

The open area contained several naval weapons including quick-firing guns (in this case a Cannone da 100/47), …

… a Menon anti-submarine mortar system removed from the former frigate Alpino, …

… and numerous nineteenth century cannons.

Inside the first of the buildings we visited were numerous examples of guns fitted to Italian Navy ships during the twentieth century. These included twin anti-aircraft guns (unlabeled, but probably a twin Breda 37/54 automatic cannon), …

… a quick-firing gun (unlabeled, but possibly a Cannone da 120/40), …

… a 1917-built Cannone da 102/45, …

… and a 1917-built Cannone da 102/35.

There was also a single, light anti-aircraft gun (unlabeled, but probably a Scotti-Isotta 20/70 automatic cannon), …

… an unlabeled, shielded gun (possibly a Cannone de 76/40), …

… a twin Cannone OTO da 100/47, …

… a single 1937 Cannone OTO da 100/47, …

… and a Cannone da 65/64 anti-aircraft gun.

There was also a selection of quick-firing guns from the first half of the twentieth century. The first was a pre-First World War Cannone da 76/40, …

… which was followed by a Maxim-Nordenfelt 6-pounder, …

… and a Cannone da 76/50 from the 1940s.

The Italian Navy was one of the first to adopt the torpedo as a weapon, and one section of the museum building traced the history of this type of weapon.

Included in the collection was an example of an early Whitehead torpedo that was made in Fiume.

The museum also housed a selection of the small-arms, machine guns, and smaller calibre weapons that had been used by the Italian Navy.

Outside the museum was a memorial to the sailors who served aboard submarines of the Italian Navy.

The memorial included a complete list of all the Italian Navy submarines that had been lost.

The garden area also had one of the battleship Vittorio Veneto‘s propellers on display.


10 Comments on “I have been to … the Technical Naval Museum, La Spezia”

  1. Paul O'G says:

    VERY cool collection Bob, thanks for sharing – that Whitehead torpedo is very neat indeed.

    BTW La Spezia was the destination for the U-boat when it attempted to penetrate Gibraltar Straits in Das Boot

  2. Paul O'G,

    I hope to return when the rebuilding/remodelling of the museum is complete as it is rumoured to have an excellent collection of model ships.

    La Spezia had quite a lot of 'attention' paid to it by the RAF during the Second World War, and I understand at it had a large concrete U-Boat pen.

    All the best,


  3. Mr. Pavone says:

    In your photos of machine guns, is the second gun the one that could shoot square bullets? I remember reading that was for use against members of a certain religion as it wouldn't be very “humane” to kill anyone else with it. I also remember it having a terrible time cycling rounds because the were, ummm, square.
    Oh god I'm sorry for that pun.

  4. Mr. Pavone,

    It does bear a resemblance to the Puckle Gun (the gun that fired circular rounds at Christians and square rounds at 'heathens') but I don't think that it is an example of one.

    All the best,


  5. Paul O'G says:

    The French Naval Museum in Paris also has a fantastic collection of model ships – I thoroughly enjoyed my visit there a few years ago and highly recommend it:


  6. Paul O'G,

    Thanks for the link. I will visit it later today.

    I have yet to write a blog entry about our visit to the Maritime Museum in Monaco, which is a small museum that is crammed full of ship models!

    All the best,


  7. Hans KC says:

    >unlabeled, but possibly a Cannone da 120/40

    It is austro-hungarian 100mm/50 Skoda gun.

  8. Hans KC,

    Thanks for the information. It's nice to know what the unlabelled weapon was.

    All the best,


  9. Hans KC says:

    You are welcome! And thanks to you for these photos. BTW, cannone da 120/40 should be in this museum too, if I remember correct.

  10. Hans KC,

    I always try to visit naval and military museums when I am abroad, and I know that a lot of my regular blog readers enjoy those sorts of photo reports.

    All the best,


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