The Weird and Wonderful Land of San Marino - The Oldest Republic in the World
This landlocked micro-state inside Italy is not only packed with great views and history, but also an endearing and quirky character that begs a visit from travelers staying in nearby Florence or Rimini.
Vatican City isn't Italy's only micro-state. About an hours bus ride from the eastern Italian coastal town of Rimini, perched atop rolling green hills, sits San Marino. Regarded as one of the oldest, if not the oldest known republic in the world (dating back to 300AD), this strange nation remains independent today, despite its tumultuous past. Although its people speak Italian and its currency is the Euro, San Marino has its own government, own flag, own economy, and even its own dialect called Romagnol.
With striking medieval castles and architecture, stunning 360 views of the surrounding Italian countryside, underrated cuisine, and a population of under 34,000, this little country can make for a perfect day trip or overnight getaway.
Why visit San Marino?
For starters, any traveler that has a passion for racking up new country experiences and passport stamps will be pleased to know that when visiting San Marino you can acquire a very special passport stamp for a small fee at the tourism office in the old town.
But beyond his, San Marino provides a quirky and unique cultural experience independent of Italy. Stroll the steep cobbled streets of the walled, medieval citadel while catching glimpses of the breathtaking views that seem to frame every building. Pop into the boutiques and bakeries offering leather goods, Swiss-made watches, and local pastries. Wander into the museum of torture or perhaps the museum of vampires. Hike up to the two castles that straddle the very tops of the mountain on which the city is built. As night approaches, tuck in to one of San Marino's lovely little restaurants for a great meal and regional bottle of wine.
When we're in San Marino, we love to eat at Hotel Cesare's in house restaurant that occupies a glass enclosure wedged between sloping alleyways overlooking the hills below. Here you can find a menu of inviting regional foods that are expertly prepared in a cozy setting fit for such a cozy country. The hotel itself is also the perfect accomodation for those hoping for more than a day trip. Make sure to book one of the panoramic rooms!
How to get to San Marino?
With no airport and no train station, the only way to reach San Marino is by bus. But don't worry, it's a fairly painless journey. The easiest bus route starts from Rimini, where you can purchase two way bus tickets next to the Burger King directly across of the Rimini train station. The bus stop is located down the street in front of the Hotel Napoleon. Traveling to San Marino only takes about 45 minutes and costs 5 euros!
When arriving in San Marino, you are dropped off directly in the old town up on the hill and from here you can easily walk anywhere.
If you are looking for a unique day trip while in Italy, and a way to check off a new country on your bucket list, San Marino is relatively cheap and easily accessible destination that offers amazing history, views, and food. To design a customized itinerary for Italy or San Marino, contact the experts at Isarti Travel!