As you probably already know, San Marino is among the smallest countries in the world. More precisely, it is the fifth smallest, but probably the most curious one. This micro-country is a sole survivor of Italy’s former (and powerful we must add) city-state network and it is still holding on as the world’s oldest surviving sovereign country and its oldest republic dating back to 301 A.D. Although some people claim it lacks intimacy and soul, the enclave-state of San Marino has lovely things to offer you and we’re just about to tell you what exactly!
How to get to San Marino:
- Bus: To reach San Marino, you must first get to the city of Rimini in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region. Once in Rimini, you can find a bus connection to San Marino, which is quite easy since they depart hourly. One way ticket costs €5.
What to do: First on the list is probably the best known of all San Marino’s attractions, Rocca Guaita and Torre Cesta. The two fortress towers are situated on Mount Titano and are available for visit and tour. They’re usually visited together, but the highlight is a traditional weaponry museum on site of Torre Cesta, dating from the 13th century. On top of Mount Titano, you’ll find food and drink stands, tourist kiosks and souvenir shops. The third tower atop Titano, Torre del Montale, can be reached by a little bit of more walking. Unfortunately, it is not open to the public, but it is well worth visiting as you will find spectacular views over San Marino, as well as few spots ideal for a picnic in the unspoiled nature.
Another tourist magnet is Piazza della Libertà. Several times throughout the day, the Guardie di Rocca change guard in a colorful ceremony. Their uniforms consist of dark green jackets with white braid, red trousers with a green stripe, hats with red pompoms and white gaiters, so make sure to take a few photos of the event.
Moreover, the capital city of San Marino has a lot going on in terms of the museum scene and anyone who likes to walk around an exhibition won’t be disappointed. Apart from the National Museum which will give you an insight into 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, there is also a Museum of Torture featuring a wide range of torture devices used over the course of time, the Wax Museum providing a wide selection of famous historical figures, and even a Coin and Stamp Museum for tourists who want to learn about the history of the currency and postage of San Marino. However, maybe the quirkiest and most entertaining museum you’ll see in San Marino is the Museum of Curiosities, featuring a collection of strange objects and peculiar inventions together with their stories. There are Venice’s wooden clogs used for high waters, the world’s longest fingernails, a trap for fleas, a German mousetrap from the 17th century, hand-pumped shower, displays about unusual people and much, much more.
If you are a fan of festivals and happen to be in San Marino during July, you won’t get bored, as the state features San Marino Jazz Festival in the city of Borgo Maggiore, as well as the Adriatic Music Festival. For those of you who are up for something more quirky, check out the Medieval Days featuring medieval costumes, food, games, and crafts.
You can also make a few short trips to few other important places outside the capital. Some of them are Faetano, one of the nine communes that make up the castelli of San Marino and a former part of Rimini (until the 15th century) with the beautiful Church of San Paolo Apostolo and delicious local cuisine, Montegiardino which is the only university town in San Marino and the most beautiful of all country, dating back to the Roman period, the largest municipality in the state Serravalle which lies at the foot of the Apennine Mountains and dates from medieval times, known for the Serravalle Castle and Saint Andrea’s Church from the 19th century.
What to Eat: The San Marino cuisine is, as you might expect, largely influenced by Italian flavors and ingredients, with an emphasis on fresh local products and, of course, pasta and wine. However, real Sammarinese dishes are faggioli con le cotiche, a bean and bacon soup and torta tre monti, the country’s favorite dessert. The city of San Marino is said to have some of the best restaurants in the whole of the state.