Situated in the Apennines, San Marino just looks like another classic Italian town, up high on a hill with a few castle-looking structures. However Italian town it is not. San Marino is San Marino. Landlocked by Italy, San Marino is its own place, its own republic. And when you are the oldest republic in the world and the third smallest state, you need donâ€™t too much to set you apart for the rest. But yet, San Marino is lost in Italy, a place even the travel braggers of the world forget about. If you are in need of setting yourself apart from the rest of the traveling world, San Marino is your ticket to bragging rights and discovering a pleasant surprise in the middle of Italy.
It Is Older Than Any Republic Youâ€™ve Been To Before
San Marino is the oldest republic in the world. Founded by Christian stonemason Marinus in 301 A.D., it is still the third smallest sate is the world. San Marino measures just 61 square miles in area, only one-third the size of Washington D.C. Still independent, democratic and neutral, most of the policies in San Marino are align with its touch neighbor, Italy.
Location and Legends
San Marino enjoys an interesting location. The capital city of San Marino sits on the top of a 657-meter lump of rock. And like the location of San Marino, the legends surrounding its origins make the city even more of a draw for those in search of travel bragging rights. St. Marinus supposedly took refuge on this spot on Mount Titano, and San Marino is glad he did. The stonemason Marinus was looking for a bit of refuge from the anti-Christian Roman Emperor Diocletian. As legend would have it, he hid well enough, finding a group of other like-minded Christians on the peak of Mount Titano.
The View at Piazza della Liberta Square
San Marinoâ€™s size is tiny to say the least, but you can still view the republic from its Piazza della Liberta Square. The square hosts great views of the rolling green hills that transition from San Marino into Italy quite quickly. Also in the square is Palazzo Pubblico, standing proudly in its Neo-Gothic style. Snap a photograph. It looks more like a toy castle than anything else, proof everything is smaller in San Marino.
The Defensive Towers
San Marino has three defensive towers. La Rocca dates back to the 11th century. What once served as a guard tower and a refuge post, La Rocca is carved right out of the rock, as you might expect. Those who visit might get a little uneasy here. La Rocca was a tower of penance, used as a prison up until as late as 1970. Another one of San Marinoâ€™s protective towers is the Cesta tower. Built in the 13th century, Cesta constitutes the highest point of Mount Titano. The Castello dominates most of San Marinoâ€™s skyline, lending those who reach her the chance to spot both Rimini and the coast. Within Castello della Cesta there is a small museum of old weapons. However, you can just walk through the streets of San Marino to see enough gun shops, strangely positioned in a picturesque medieval town.
In the medieval center of San Marino, cars are banned. You can really enjoy strolling around without having to watch out for drivers. Going through ancient homes and narrow streets is quiet and unhurried in San Marino. What few cities can brag of, San Marino can. No cars allowed.
Written by: Suzy Guese