Who has heard of San Marino?
Don't worry, you're not alone. We hadn't heard of it either. We thought that San Marino was a town in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. I remember a fellow traveler, Gary Arndt asking us if we were going to San Marino and we said, “I think so.”
We didn't realize then that it was it's own nation and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ah, that explained Gary's interest, he's been to half the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world.
I don't know how many Dave and I have been to, but I know that San Marino is a place that definitely deserves the title.
About San Marino
San Marino is tiny sovereign nation surrounded by Italy. The Italian Apennines to one side, and the Adriatic coast to the other, with views that are out of this world. If you haven't seen the Italian Apennines, you should. We've decided that they have much more charm than Tuscany and are equally beautiful.
As one local said to us, “We don't call it Toscana anymore, the English have taken it over so much, even the Italians call it Tuscany!” If you want the real Italy, go to the Apennines instead. We loved it there. See our article Italian Hospitality in the Apennines.
With that said, the views from San Marino are a delight to see.
Sadly for us, when we arrived the city was shrouded in cloud and spewing with rain. We knew there was a view out there somewhere, but we just couldn't see it. Lucky we spent two days in San Marino because by the time the sun started to set, the heaven's opened up and treated us to a spectacular scene.
During the rainy afternoon, we walked with umbrellas in hand through the narrow vehicle free streets and peeked in the shop windows. San Marino is famous for its duty free shopping and we saw many women walking out with brand name purses and jewellery in hand.
We then hopped over to the Tourist Office to get our passport stamped. No matter how much you travel, it's always fun getting a stamp in the passport, especially when you didn't expect it. A few days earlier, we didn't even know that San Marino was its own nation. And what a nation it is.
San Marino is considered to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world per capita. It only has about 30,000 citizens within its small radius of 61 square km but they all do very well in tourism, industry and finance.
We took a tour of the castle, which is now the government buildings, to learn all about San Marino and how it was founded. Way back in 301 AD a monk from Rab, Croatia named Marinus of Arba came to this mountain with his friend Leo to escape persecution.
Marinus performed some miracles and developed a following, built a church and a community was born. San Marino boasts the world's oldest surviving sovereign state in the world, with a constitution dating back to the 17th century.
Learning about their government was fascinating. It is no wonder that it prides itself on being a nation representing peace and freedom. They don't have one Head of State, but two.
Known as Captains these officials are elected or re-elected every six months and if they don't do a good job, citizens can file a complaint against them. Oh, how I'd love to be able to file a complaint against our Prime Minister Harper. He's got some ‘splainin' to do!
Everyone in our party agreed that San Marino has the most beautiful view from a city in the world. Sitting atop rolling hills and standing at 700 metres high on Mount Titano, San Marion offers panoramic views for miles around.
Each time we caught a glimpse from the city walls, our breath was taken away. It didn't matter which side we looked from, it was pure beauty. So we thought we'd share some of that beauty with you. Enjoy!
The Views from San Marino
How to Get to San Marino
- San Marino can be reached by bus from Rimini.
- Trenitalia has regular trains to the coastal town of Rimini where you can catch a local bus to San Marino.
- If you drive, you can leave your car in Borgo Maggiore located at and catch the cable car up to San Marino, a fun ride with gorgeous views.
- For more information on San Marino, go to Visit San Marino.com