San Marino Vacations
Landlocked San Marino is one of the world’s smallest countries. Surrounded by Italy, it is an echo from an era when city-states proliferated across Europe. Mount Titano, part of the Appennine range, dominates San Marino’s landscape. Three defensive fortresses perch on Titano’s slopes, looking out to the Adriatic coast. San Marino is said to be the world’s oldest surviving republic. Tourism dominates the economy of the sixty one square kilometer republic, which plays host to more than three million visitors every year.
History and General Information on San Marino
San Marino is the world’s oldest republic and Europe’s third smallest state. It lies 657 meters above sea level with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and Adriatic coast and is situated only 10 kilometers from Rimini. Legend has it that the founder of San Marino, a stonemason arrived from the island of Rab in Dalmatia, climbed Mt. Titano to found a small community of Christians, persecuted for their faith by the Emperor Diocletian. San Marino is made up of a few towns dotted around the mountain sides. The capital of San Marino is itself called ‘San Marino City’ and is situated high up on a mountain top. The capital is surrounded by a wall and three distinct towers overlook the rest of the country. The site San Marino: Historic Centre and Mount Titano has become part of the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008. San Marino is 20 times bigger than Monaco and half the size of Liechtenstein. San Marino has no airports and so if you want to visit you by air you will have to use the airport in nearby Rimini. Car and bus are the most common and pretty much only ways into the area.
Things to See and Do in San Marino
Three fortresses Guaita, Cesta, and Montale – crown the long ridge of Mount Titano, each with a tower from which there are splendid views of the Apennines, the coastal plain, Rimini, and the sea as far as the Dalmatian coast. These are linked by a paved path, the lower part of which is lined with kiosks selling snacks, drinks, and souvenirs, giving the mountain top the air of a carnival. The first and earliest of the fortresses is Rocca Guaita, dating from 1253. Rocca Cesta, the highest of them, contains a museum of ancient arms.
The National Museum
This excellent museum in the historic Palazzo Pergami Belluzzi shows archaeological collections beginning with Neolithic Age artifacts and later Etruscan and Roman finds, and includes Egyptian antiquities, Byzantine icons, 17th-century paintings, and antique San Marino coins. Many of the nearly five thousand items in the museum were donated in the 19th century from private collections of Italian intellectuals and political figures who wanted to show their admiration for the little republic.
The Wax Museum
The 100 wax figures in the museum represent significant historical characters; each dressed in the clothing of their day and arranged in scenes, often with other contemporaries. Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler are shown meeting, Jacqueline Kennedy is shown in audience with Pope John XXIII, and Giuseppe Garibaldi is at the bedside of his dying wife, Anita. Others are shown with their inventions or tools Marconi with his telegraph, Galileo with telescope in hand, Da Vinci holding a paintbrush or at historic moments, such as President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in Ford’s Theater.
Flavours of San Marino
The San Marino cuisine is simple and delicious, with flavors from neighboring regions mixed with local herbs and ingredients. Look for fagioli con le cotiche (bean and bacon soup) rabbit stew and torta tre monti (chocolate and hazelnut layer cake). There is also delicious local wine and tilus, a truffle infused after-dinner liquor.
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