During a conversation with some friends, we discussed the existence of tiny and small countries in the world. San Marino was definitely on the conversation so I was curious to see how it looks like… Just like the Vatican (Holy See), San Marino is enclaved in Italy and the only way of getting there is by land from its surrounding neighbour so I made sure I see this micro-state when I’m travelling around.
Other than being the third smallest European country after Vatican and Monaco, San Marino is also known for being the first Republic of Europe. The country is located just 10km from Rimini and the Italian coast.
On the evening of 21st July, I entered San Marino for the first time! Some statistics… it is the second micro-state I visit after the Vatican, it is the 5th country I visit during my July trip and finally the 20th country I visit all time. The evening in San Marino was quiet and calm as tourists come during the day mainly also during that evening an event was taking place somewhere in the country where we feel like all citizens are attending as the population is one of the smallest in Europe with 33,000 residents. By midnight, the country was all empty and it was time to leave.
The next day, I decided to see this place again and know more about the country. I’ve taken a bus from Rimini that drives from the rail station to the centre of San Marino, it takes about 45 minutes to get there. The price of the return ticket is 9 euros. Back by day, I decided to get to the tourist office and get a stamp on my passport. San Marino is visa free country however being inside Italy which is part of the Schengen Area so de facto San Marino becomes a Schengen country as well. I’ve got my Sammarinese tourist visa by paying 5 euros, a souvenir that I’ve chosen to keep on my passport. More about the country, it is part of the Euro zone releasing its own coins since 2002 and the country benefits with several agreements with Italy and the Vatican.
After getting my visa, I walked all along the small streets of the country with its medieval architecture and designs. The country is build on a rock with 3 towers facing Italy in a defensive position. The first tower is named Guaita from where I walked to the second one named Cesta. The walk was pleasant and enjoyable with some amazing views over Italy and the Adriatic Coast. I haven’t reached the third tower which is Montale but I’m sure it is worth walking and climbing higher to get there.
Still around the country, I make my way towards the main administrative and executive building named Palazzo Pubblico (Government building) where a ceremony of guards change takes place. Although I have missed this, I’ve seen some personalities getting in there probably ministers and diplomats of the country. Sammarinese are proud of their independence and their sovereignty, they don’t consider themselves Italian despite the fact that it’s their official language and their are fully submerged in an Italian culture and a very strong influence.
I left the country at around 4pm getting back to Downtown Rimini for a walk. Later that evening, I’ve been with Clarissa to a small village near Rimini, it’s SantArcangelo where I’ve had so far my best italian dish and a great experience with locals. This was on the same day as my visit to San Marino but I’m giving it a whole new article to describe deeper the experience 🙂