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About city Gallery Where to stay

San Marino, at a very modest 60 sq. km, and home to only 25,000 people, is surrounded from all sides by Italy. The republic’s history essentially began when Christians started to move away from it. A few thousand years ago, a Christian stonemason by the name of Marinus found a sanctuary from his persecutors on the hard-to-reach Monte Titano. Together with the other brothers-in-faith, he started building a fortress. The news of an independent Christian dwelling soon spread across the neighbouring lands, becoming shrouded in legend. During his lifetime, Marinus was declared a saint and his land came to be known as the Land of the Saint Marinus, or San Marino. Not a single conqueror has ever seized this tiny state.

Even though San Marino is an agrarian country, its people have always been wealthier than their Italian neighbours. Most of the money comes through the sale of postage stamps, medals, coins and souvenirs that have images of the country’s famous objects on them. Every year, the Land of the Saint Marinus is visited by millions of tourists.

Tourists enjoying the view from La Rocca fortless on Borgo Maggiore, San Marino
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Tourists enjoying the view from La Rocca fortless on Borgo Maggiore, San Marino

Approaching the resort of Rimini, tourists can see the Monte Titano and the three towers of its fortress while still on the plane. They tempt with their fairytale mysteriousness, and it’s hard to believe that an actual country lies behind the walls of this toy-like fortress. Here you’ll find several primordial basilicas, hundreds of steep stairs, mini palaces and tightly packed locals’ houses – probably the most luxurious and prestigious dwellings in the whole of Europe. Once you climb the stone stairs to the fortress and look out its overview windows, it’s hard to shake off the feeling you’re in some kind of wonderland. The fortresses of Guaita, Cesta and Montale are where most tourists prefer to take walks.

Lucky are those who come to San Marino during holidays – at this time, the whole country seems like a medieval version of itself or some kind of vast theatrical performance. Wherever you look, you’ll see sword-bearing guardsmen and crossbowmen dressed in exquisitely beautiful medieval uniforms.

Since trade is not taxed here, San Marino is basically a one big emporium. Walking up the streets from the bus station you’ll soon notice that the higher you get, the lower the prices. Whichever direction you take, you’re bound to climb higher and higher.

Tourists see the sights of San Marino
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Tourists see the sights of San Marino

Few tourists resist buying a bottle of San Marino’s traditional liqueur with large pears (or kiwis, oranges and apricots) on the bottom. It is said that gardeners put the bottles on flowering tree branches, letting the fruits form and ripen inside. Eventually, the bottles are filled with liqueur. Most liquor stores offer samples of the drinks they sell – all you have to do is point to a bottle of, say, some pink cream liqueur and the clerk will immediately pour you a glass.

San Marino is famous for its leather products: purses, bags, wallets, belts… Just don’t start shopping wherever the tour guide takes you – we recommend you explore the upward-winding streets on your own. Whenever you spot a shop that has a sign that interests you, don’t hesitate to dive right in and take your time as you examine the goods. You’re bound to see some truly unique things here which you can always haggle over. Compared to Italy, souvenirs in San Marino are much more abundant and less expensive.

San Marino
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  San Marino

The streets of San Marino are littered with cafés and little restaurants. Most who have been to the city exclaim, “I ate the best pizza I’ve ever had there!”. Many travellers also learn that before they came here, they didn’t know what real coffee was. Its secret probably lies in San Marino’s crystal-clear mountain water.

Most tourists visit the fascinating local Torture Museum, however, if you’re not interested in torture tools or if you came with children, we recommend you head right to the Curiosity Museum, permeated with true San Marinian spirit – everything here is real, although it is hard to believe so.

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