San Marino - Europe's Oldest Republic
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San Marino - Europe's Oldest Republic

San Marino, San Marino City, Europes oldest republic, Saint Marinus, Monte Titano, Borgo Maggiore, attractions in San Marino City, the Guaita Tower, The Cesta Tower, The De la Fratta Tower, The Montale Tower, local San Marino delicacies, local San Marino drinks, travel from Rimini to San Marino,

The European Microstate of San Marino is an enclave that is completely surrounded by Italy, situated east of the Apennine Mountains, twenty two kilometres - 14 miles -  from the Adriatic holiday resort of Rimini on Italy's east coast.

The tiny country covers an area of just 61.2 square kilometres and has a population of around 30,000 people.

San Marino is the oldest republic in Europe having been founded in the year 301 and has the world's oldest constitution which has been in effect since 1600.

The country was founded by a stonemason from the Adriatic island of Rab -  part of present day Croatia -  who fled oppression from the Holy Roman Empire and the Pope in 301. He lived as a hermit on Monte Titano and built a chapel and monastery there, which became a well known refuge for other Christians fleeing Roman oppression. Years later the stonemason became the deacon of the monastery and chapel and upon his death was canonised, whereupon he has since been known as Saint Marinus. The country of San Marino then went on to grow up around the community that flourished at Mount Titano's monastery. Saint Marinus is remembered every year by way of the country's National Day, celebrated every September the 3rd.

Today, San Marino is one of the world's wealthiest countries, has the lowest unemployment rate in all of Europe, has no national debt, has a budget surplus and it's people have one of the world's highest life expectancies.

The country is made up of nine municipalities, known as castell, which are further divided into forty three villages or curazie.

The country's capital city is San Marino City - Citta di San Marino -  situated on the western slopes of the country's highest point Monte Titano ( 739 m). The city has a population of around 4,500 people, but the country's largest city however is that of Dogana situated in the Serravalle region in the north east of the country, with a population of around 7,000 people.

The republic's nine regions are linked by way of the 220 kilometre road network, the San Marino Superhighway, and the country has no railway, seaport or airport and just one heliport - situated in the city of Borgo Maggiore.

There are no border controls into San Marino, but collectors can obtain a San Marino passport stamp from the capital city's Tourist Information Centre for a small fee.


  Borgo Maggiore to San Marino City cable car.

The country's nearest airport, seaport and railway station are all situated twenty two kilometres away in Rimini, Italy. Rimini is served by an hourly bus service into San Marino City which operates seven days a week. A service that is extremely busy, especially during the Summer months.Buses for San Marino  are located at the bus station  which is situated outside Rimini Railway Station on Piazzale Cesare Battisti. The bus journey takes between forty five minutes and one hour depending on which bus company you use. When arriving in San Marino one can depart the bus at the bottom of the hill below San Marino City and walk into the walled city, or depart the bus in the city of Borgo Maggiore and take the 1.5 kilometre cable car ride into San Marino City, which will give you stunning views of the surrounding landscape.


                                              The gated entrance into San Marino City.

For independent travel by road into San Marino, take the local highway SS74 out of Rimini travelling south. This road traverses through a vast, fertile valley with stunning views. San Marino is situated 657 metres above sea level, so the road is steep, winding and narrow making the journey time generally around an hour.

Parking in San Marino City is only allowed in the fee charging, car parks situated outside the city walls as vehicular traffic is banned in the city centre. There are also several fee charging, car parks situated in Borgo Maggiore which are annexed to the cable car station.

 San Marino City is the third largest city in the country after Dogana - the first city you reach upon entering San Marino from Rimini -  and Borgo Maggiore - the most urbanised area in San Marino famous for it's market and for being the only town in the whole country to have a MacDonalds -  and between them they welcome over three million tourists a year. The beautiful and ancient walled city of San Marino City with it's long and winding cobbled streets which host over a thousand shops and restaurants, can generally be seen in a day by most people.



                                                                         Monte Titano.

Local points of interest in the capital include the Basilica di San Marino, The Pallazzo Pubblico, the Museo dell Emigrante, the Monastery of Santa Clara and the city's Grand Hotel

Monte Titano, the symbolic site of the founding of the republic, is a three peaked mountain which reaches 739 metres at it's highest point. Each of these peaks are topped by a medieval tower, two of which are open to the public. These towers are The 11th century Guaita, and the 13th century Cesta or De La Fratta which both house public museums and the 14th century Montale, which is closed to the viewing public.

These three towers were built as part of much larger fortress complexes, and are depicted on the San Marino national flag and San Marino City coat of arms as well as being remembered by way of a local, traditional cake called Torta Tre Monti.

The country's cuisine is very much based on Italian cookery with lots of cheese, wine, bread, salads and pasta, but the country does have some local delicacies you can try. These include the aforementioned Torta Tre Monti and the Torte Titano, both rich, chocolate based cakes, piadina - a local flatbread, pasta e ceci - a chickpea and noodle soup, nudi di rondine - a ham, beef and cheese baked pasta and rabbit, slow roasted in fennel.

Local beverages include Brugneto and Tessano red wines, Brancale and Roncale white wines and Mistra, Tilus and Duca di Gualdo liqueurs, and of course the coffee served in the republic is of the highest quality.

All hotels in the republic are high end and extremely expensive, but this is of course reflected in their style, service and food.There are also some beautiful holiday, rental properties situated around the country both in rural or urban settings, which come out slightly cheaper than the local hotels. The country also boasts an extremely large and well run camp site - Centro Vacanze San Marino -  which offers several small apartments and accommodation for two hundred tents and mobile homes.

Shops in the republic are also of superior quality with most of them independently owned and selling mainly designer  and or luxury goods.

Although San Marino is not part of the European community, the national currency is the Euro, although coin collectors are able to buy old editions of the previously used Sammarinese Lira. The country also issues it's own stamps, but only for use within San Marino itself, but collectors can buy them from local post offices.

Italian is the official language of San Marino, but locals speak a national dialect called Emiliano Romagnolo . English is widely spoken in the tourist areas, but in the smaller, rural areas one may only find Italian or the local dialect spoken.

Please don't refer to the local people as being Italian. They are extremely proud of their independence, and like to be referred to by their national denonym which is Sammarinese.


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1) Gaita Tower          

2) Cesta Tower

3) Montale Tower. 

Other European Microstates that you may be interested in - 



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Comments (3)

Fascinating piece, DeeBee. I see the Sammarinese are fiercely proud of their identity.

Really nice share! Some fabulous pictures. Thanks for sharing Voted up!

Amazing place and the towers are great.