Only 61 square meters in size, the tiny republic of San Marino is independent, with its own government and laws, even though it is completely surrounded by Italy. The oldest sovereign state in the world, it dates back to the fourth century AD. On top of the highest point of this hilly area, Mount Titano, is the capital of San Marino. Medieval stone walls enclose the original settlement, built entirely of stone and closed to traffic. A single street leading up to Piazza della Libertàis lined with cafes, restaurants and shops selling ceramics and duty-free items, one of San Marino’s attractions for Italian tourists. The three fortresses on the top of the mountain give San Marino its most famous image and are connected by a path that runs along the entire ridge.
Three fortresses – Guaita, Cesta and Montale – crown the long ridge of Mount Titano, each with a tower from which to enjoy a magnificent view of the Apennines, the coastal plain, Rimini and the sea to the Dalmatian coast. These are connected by a paved path, the lower part is lined with kiosks selling snacks, drinks and souvenirs, giving the mountain the air of a carnival. The first and earliest of the fortresses is Rocca Guaita, dating from 1253. Rocca Cesta, the tallest of them, contains a museum of ancient weapons.
Adres: Via Salita alla Rocca, San Marino City
Accommodation: Where to Stay in San Marino
2 Palazzo Pubblico in Piazza della Liberta
Public Palace in Piazza della Liberta
The neo-Gothic style government building (Palazzo Pubblico) with its square crenellated tower was designed by the architect Francesco Azzurri in the late 1800s and built from stone quarries found on Mount Titano. The facade is decorated with coats of arms of the Republic and its four municipalities, and inside a staircase leads to the Council Chamber on the top floor.
Piazza della Liberta is a magnet for tourists, as the Guardie di Rocca often changes guards during the day in a colorful ceremony. Their uniforms — a dark green double-breasted jacket with white braid, red pants with a green stripe, hats with red pom poms, and white gaiters — will have everyone scoring great photos from the event.
Adres: Piazza della Liberta, San Marino City
3 Museo di Stato (National Museum)
This excellent museum in the historic Palazzo Pergami Belluzzi displays 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. Many of the nearly 5,000 items in the museum were donated in the 19th century from private collections by Italian intellectuals and political figures who wanted to show their admiration for the small republic.
Address: Piazzetta del Titano 1, San Marino City
Official site: www.museidistato.sm
4 Basilica of San Marino
This neo-classical basilica was built in the early 19th century on the foundations of a fourth-century Romanesque church, also dedicated to San Marino (St. Marinus), which had been abandoned. The interior is classic basilica, with a long nave and two aisles with altars. The seven altars are worth seeing for their sculptures and paintings, and the main altar has a statue of St. Marinus sculpted by Tadolini. An urn contains the relics of St. Marinus.
Address: Piazza Domus Plebis, San Marino Città
5 Things Museum
The 100 wax figures in the museum represent important historical characters, each dressed in the clothes of their day and arranged in scenes, often with other contemporaries. Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler are shown meeting, Jacqueline Kennedy is shown in public with Pope John XXIII, and Giuseppe Garibaldi is shown at the bedside of his dying wife, Anita. Others are shown with their inventions or tools – Marconi with his telegraph, Galileo with telescope in hand, Da Vinci with a paintbrush – or at historical moments, such as the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s theater. You will also learn a little about the history of San Marino here.
Address: Via Lapicidi Marini 17, San Marino City
Official site: www.museodellecerersm.com
6 Museum of curiosities
Certainly one of the quirkiest and most entertaining museums you will see is this collection of strange objects and curious inventions and their stories. The collection of about 100 objects includes two-foot-tall wooden clogs designed to be worn during the high waters of Venice, the world’s longest fingernails, a 1700s German mousetrap, a flea trap, a 17th-century hand-pumped shower, a “nose watch” that works by creating smoke of different scents every hour, and silver blankets to protect the long fingernails of Chinese Mandarins. There are also displays about unusual people – the world’s tallest recorded man and his shortest woman. Even the free transport offered to take you from the municipal car park to the museum,
Address: Via Salita della Rocca 26, San Marino City
7 Maranello Red Ferrari Museum
The Vintage Car Museum at the foot of Mount Titano houses a collection of cars related to the history, life and cars of Enzo Ferrari and Carlo Abarth. You will find sports cars, Formula 1 and cars of famous people, including the first Ferrari Spyder designed by Pininfarina and owned by Marilyn Monroe. Among the 25 Ferrari cars dating from 1951 to the present, the most famous of them all is the 250 GTO Red which won three World Championships. There are unpublished photos and memories of the history of competitions, races and the top success and life of Carlo Abarth.
Adres: Strada dei Censiti 21, Falciano, San Marino
Official site: www.maranellorosso.com
8 Museum of Modern Weapons (Museum voor Moderne Wapens)
Displayed in the Palazzo Manzoni Borghese, opposite the Basilica of San Marino , are more than 2,000 examples of firearms, ammunition and bayonets used in World War I and II. Along with Italian and other European weapons are those from elsewhere in the world.
Address: Contrada della Pieve 2, San Marino City
9 Museum of agricultural culture and traditions
It may seem strange to find a fully restored and furnished farm museum in a small clifftop principality, but San Marino is very proud of its long agricultural heritage. The House of Fabrica in Montecchio is one of the oldest patronal houses, dating back to the mid-1700s at least. The museum has been restored to its original state and decorated to recreate the daily life of farming families in the villages around Mount Titano. It tries to preserve some of the traditions and customs of rural life. In addition to farm implements such as sickles and hoes, there are household tools, copper pots, coal-heated irons, a loom, a crib, and other period furnishings.
Adres: Strada di Montecchio 11, San Marino City
10 Coin and Stamp Museum
For stamp collectors worldwide, San Marino means beautiful stamps and philatelists can admire a complete collection in this museum housed in the church. Borgo Maggiore . Along with the stamps issued by the republic since the mid-19th century are coins, which San Marino began minting in 1862.
Address: Piazza Grande 24, Borgo Maggiore, San Marino
Day trips from San Marino
In the Republic of San Marino, a number of small villages are located on peaks and spurs with castles; most offer beautiful views of the countryside and Mount Titano, and several have interesting histories. The fortress of Domagnano of Montelupo was built in 1463 and played a role in San Marino’s war against the Malatesta of Rimini. In the same year, Faetano , once territory of the Malatesta, was taken over by San Marino, and they also bought the Malatesta Castle in Fiorentino . One of the most beautiful castles is in Montegiardino , a town that dates back to Roman times. Both Borgo Maggiore and Serravallehave grown from villages into important residential areas of San Marino.
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