When planning my road trip from and to Rimini in Italy, I was 100% sure I wanted to include San Marino in it. It is one of the smallest countries in the world that has been able to save its independence for many centuries. This tiny republic resides along the Italian east coast, located between the Emilia-Romagna and Marche provinces of Italy. According to tradition, San Marino was founded in the 4th century by Marinus, a Christian stonemason seeking refuge from religious persecution on Mount Titano. San Marino was established in present borders already in the middle of the 15th century. Now, San Marino boasts one of the planet’s highest GDP per capita and the country has no national debt. San Marino historic centre and Mount Titano is UNESCO World Heritage site since 2008. The capital city itself is smaller than you might expect, for example, the old town is just about 500 metres long and 100 metres wide. It’s still worth visiting because of the views and the feel of country history.
So here you go. When you enter the Old Town, in a few minutes you will reach the Liberty square.
The main square of San Marino is located around the Statue of Liberty and therefore is called Piazza della Libertà. On the same square is the Palazzo Pubblico, the town hall. This is the place where all the festivities happen. The square can also be called a balcony of Italy because from it you can see half of Italy. Anyone coming to Mount Titano can be seen from 100 kilometres.
Public Palace is the heart of the San Marino political scene and of its history. The inauguration of the Palace took place at the end of the 19th century. The palace was built using stone extracted from the caves in Mount Titano. In recent times the Palace has been restructured by the order to adapt it to modern requirements. The facade is richly decorated with numerous symbols, including Coat-of-Arms of the Republic and of the four Municipalities (Castelli): Serravalle, Fiorentino, Montegiardino and Faetano.
Statue of Liberty
The sculpture by Stefano Galletti was donated to the Republic in the late 19th century as a symbol of freedom. Carved in white Carrara marble, it represents a warrior with one hand stretched forward, marching proudly towards the observer. The head is crowned with three towers, standing for the fortified city of San Marino. You can find a picture of the Statue of Liberty on the San Marino two-cent euro coins. Enjoy perhaps the best views of the Italian countryside from the square.
Visit the three towers on top of Mount Titano
Guaita tower is the first tower built in San Marino and dates back to the 11th century. Subsequently enlarged and remodelled, it achieved utmost splendour in the 15th century. it had previously been used as a prison up to 1975. It is one of the three towers depicted on both the national flag and coat of arms. The second tower, the Cesta Tower (Seconda Torre), is an impressive fortified tower that forms part of San Marino’s ancient bulwark. It dates back to the 13th century and has served as both an observation tower and prison. The tower stands at 755 meters (2,477 feet) and marks the pinnacle of Mount Titano. Perched atop Mount Titano’s highest point is a citadel with magnificent views and a museum with displays of antique firearms. Walk between the towers via a winding panoramic pathway.
Visit Basilica di San Marino
The Basilica of the Saint was designed and built in the middle of the 19th century by Antonio Serra, an architect from Bologna, on the grounds of the ancient Church of the 5th century, which was demolished to make a place for the new Basilica. The Basilica is the main religious building in the country, preserving the relics of the founder of San Marino – St. Marino. The exterior of the church is built in neo-classic style with a portico of Corinthian columns, resembling an ancient temple. The massive bell tower next to the church, originally in Romanic style, was rebuilt in the 1600s. Look above the columns at an inscription in Latin: Divo. Marino. Patrono. Et Libertatis. Avctori. Sen. PQ. It means St. Marinus, father of the country, the bearer of freedom for the Senate and the People.
Walk the narrow streets of the old town
Within the walls, there are lots of narrow streets to amble along, exploring the sights. Do window shopping or a real one because the prices in San Marino are really good.
Have a delicious meal with a view
I had my dinner at La Terrazza restaurant and really enjoyed it. It was very reasonably priced and tasty. I had a table at the window to enjoy both food and the view. For you to have the same, better book your table in advance.
If you are in San Marino in the second part of May, don’t miss the 1000 Miglia historic cars race passing through San Marino on their way on their traditional route Brescia-Rome-Brescia.
Where to stay in San Marino
If you want to have San Marino just for you or almost, stay overnight there. My choice was the Grand Hotel San Marino, located next to the gate of the old town. Just keep in mind that one side of the hotel is located very close to a cliff so there is no view at all. If it’s important to you, check in advance which side of the hotel your room will be located on.
For great views, take a cable car from Borgo Maggiore to the Historical Centre of San Marino, lasting for about 2 minutes.Like it? Pin it!
What did you think? Have you been to San Marino? Or perhaps you’re thinking of visiting there in the near future? Either way, I’d love to hear from you so please add your comments below.
Author: Anita Sāne
About the author
Anita is a part-time traveler, passionate photographer and a mature career woman from Latvia, traveling mostly solo for more than 10 years. She is a skilled travel planner planning and executing her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her also on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Bloglovin.