Things to do in San Marino

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. 20towers san marino 1460606

So here you go. When you enter the Old Town, in a few minutes you will reach the Liberty square.

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

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.10public palace san marino 1460563

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. 302liberty san marino 1460562Enjoy perhaps the best views of the Italian countryside from the square.13views san marino 146056014views san marino 146057119views san marino 1460677

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. 20towers san marino 1460606The 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.23towers san marino 146061222towers san marino 1460610 Walk between the towers via a winding panoramic pathway.25towers san marino 146062326towers san marino 146062527towers san marino 1460630

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.35basilica san marino 1460598

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.30streets san marino 146059331streets san marino 1460595303shopping san marino 1460570

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.304menu san marino 146066752food san marino 146065153food san marino 146065454food san marino 146065755food san marino 1460666

Bonus tip

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.46historic cars san marino 146069647historic cars san marino 146078248historic cars san marino 1460787

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.60grand hotel san marino 146053661grand hotel san marino 1460543

Practical tip

For great views, take a cable car from Borgo Maggiore to the Historical Centre of San Marino, lasting for about 2 minutes.51cable car san marino 146057850cable car san marino 1460576Like it? Pin it!

San Marino is one of the smallest countries in the world residing along the Italian east coast. San Marino historic centre and Mount Titano is UNESCO World Heritage site since 2008. The capital city itself is smaller than you might expect it’s still worth visiting because of the views and the feel of country history. So read and see more about spectacular San Marino! #Europetravel #Sanmarino #visitSanMarino #travelblog #travelphotography

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.

  • Published by Anita on May 03, 2019
  • Author: Anita Sane

    Anita 03 18

    About the author
    Anita is a part-time traveller, passionate photographer and a retired career woman from Latvia, 
    travelling mostly solo for more than 15 years. She is a skilled travel planner who plans and executes her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her on FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter and Bloglovin.


    Would love to go there, did not know about this place a lot , but you made me want to go there!
    Great post. I recently finished visiting all the European Union capitals and now I want to visit all the capitals in Europe which means going to San Marino. I'm really excited to go, thanks for your tips! Will definitely try to stay overnight :)
    Great post! I had plans to spend the night in San Marino a few years ago but they got changed. I still want to go and your post brought that all back! I need to make the effort to get there.
    Your photos are stunning!

    We popped in to San Marino on the drive home from Ancona to Nice, we just couldn't pass up the opportunity to explore another country. Apart from the magnificent views we were struck by the high number of weapons shops in the main street. And not only were these shops very jarring to my mind but they were right next to Christmas decoration shops! Such a peculiar contrast. But definitely great views!
    Those views from the cable car! I've always found the idea of visiting San Marino interesting and it's great to see that it doesn't disappoint. How long would you recommend for a visit? Would it be a good day trip?
    Thanks, Alice! As the place is small, day or even a half day trip from Rimini, for example, is enough in my opinion. Staying overnight adds a special feel to it.

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