Robin's Website

San Marino

Landlocked in north-eastern Italy and just 24 square miles (62km²) in area, San Marino is one of the world’s smallest independent republics. It is located about 11 miles (18km) southwest of the popular Italian coastal resort of Rimini. The capital is the city of San Marino and the republic claims to be the oldest state in Europe. The city itself sits on the ridge of the Apennine mountain Monte Titano, which at 2,425 feet (739m) above sea level is the highest peak in the nation. The population of this little European republic, according to the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook, at the time of the visit featured on this webpage (2018) was estimated to be 33,344.

Most of San Marino’s income derives from tourism, the sale of postage stamps, and the export of wine and wool. Most of its citizens are Italian-speaking Roman Catholics, many of whom work in agriculture. The country is named after its traditional founder, a Christian refugee called Marino who established a community here in the 4th century AD. San Marino is ruled by a ten-member Council of State and two regents, elected by the larger Grand Council. Women were not given the vote here until as late as 1960 and only since 1973, have they been able to hold public office.

There is no railway service to San Marino, and unless taking a bus there, the easiest way to get there is by car. The historic centre of San Marino is perched high up atop a hill and there are two options for getting there (it is not possible to drive into the centre). One option is to take the cable car, although parking at the lower station can still be an issue. The other is to park in one of the lettered car parks just outside the centre. Despite walking routes suggested by Google Maps to trek the route from the car parks to the centre, it is advisable to follow signs (and some initiative) and follow the signs towards the bus station which take you through a series of elevator rides, ascending to the top of the hill with minimum effort and at no extra cost.

The main sites to look out for during a visit here are the Three Towers of San Marino (the Guita Tower or the ‘First Tower’, the Cesta Tower or the ‘Second Tower’, and the Montale Tower or the ‘Third Tower’), the Cathedral of San Marino, the Piazza della Libertà (including the Statua della Libertà), the medieval Palazzo Pubblico, the Museo di stato di San Marino (the State Museum of San Marino) and the Museo San Francesco. Whilst visiting, as well as taking in all of the other sights, a visit was made to the 11th century Guita Tower which is the oldest of the three towers. It served briefly as a prison and was rebuilt numerous times, reaching its current form in the 15th century. A walk was then taken to the Second Tower (the Cesta Tower), which is located on the highest of Monte Titano's summits. At the top of this tower, it is possible to stand at the highest point in all of San Marino with views in all directions and after the climb, one may be inclined to truly feel like “King (or Queen) of the Castle”. The 14th century Third Tower (the Montale Tower) is located on the smallest of Monte Titano's summits and unlike the other two towers, is not open to the public.

Above: Fully zoomable map centred on the City of San Marino (Courtesy of

Simply walking around the historic centre is a real pleasure in itself, exploring the narrow medieval alleyways, shop-lined streets, scenic terraces and various small churches dotted around this magical place. For those interested, near the upper station of the cable car is located the tourist office, and here you can get an attractive tourist stamp in your passport for €5. “San Marino Historic Centre and Mount Titano” has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008 and for further reading on the UNESCO website, click Here. The Wikipedia article on San Marino can be found by clicking Here (External Links). Due to its aesthetic appeal, the author of this webpage took a relatively large number of photos during a stay here and these can be viewed in the thumbnail gallery below (click on an image to enlarge):

Back to Top