San Marino is not a region of Italy but is officially known as The Republic of San Marino. It is the third smallest state in Europe, after the Vatican and Monaco. It is believed to have been founded around 301 and lays claim to being the world’s oldest republic. It lies 657 m above sea level with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and Adriatic coast.
Monte Titano lies in the Apennines and is the highest peak in San Marino. It stands at 739 m (2,425 ft) above sea level and is located immediately to the east of the capital, San Marino. It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 under the combined title “San Marino Historic Centre and Mount Titano”. This heritage site include the towers, walls, gates and bastions of the City of San Marino, the Basilica di San Marino of the nineteenth century, some convents of the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, the eighteenth century Teatro Titano Theatre and the Palazzo Pubblico of the nineteenth century.
Straddled on the ridge of Mount Titano is the city of San Marino of the Republic of San Marino, the history of which dates from the early 4th century. According to the legend related to the Mount and its precincts a small monastery existed on top of the Mount during the 8th century. The mountainous landscape provides excellent views of its surroundings, and its isolated location ensured the needed seclusion for San Marino to survive as a Republic over the past several centuries.
The mountain has three peaks; on each is one of The Three Towers of San Marino.
There is a 1.5 km (0.93 mi) aerial tramway connecting the City of San Marino on top of Monte Titano with Borgo Maggiore, a major town in the republic.
La Rocca and Mount Titano Fortress
There are some ancient fortresses on the peak of Mount Titano which overlook the city. La Rocca, Guaita the first tower is the most impressive of the three towers with a bell tower and stunning views which strech as far as the coast, it dates back to the 11th century when it was carved out of the mountain and became an important guard tower in the city’s defence, there is also a lovely garden with lots of flowers.The second, and highest, tower is the Cesta which contains the Museum of Antique Weapons and dates back to the 13th century. The third tower, Montale which also dates to the 13th century, and like the other two became a prison in later years, this one is not open to the public.
Main sights in San Marino Town
- Basilica di San Marino
- Palazzo dei Capitani
- Palazzo Pubblico
- The Three Towers of San Marino
- Piazza del Titano
- Piazza Garibaldi
- Monastery of Santa Clara
- Grand Hotel San Marino
The town is known for its long, winding cobblestoned streets, as its altitude and steep approach put it beyond the reach of the San Marino Superhighway. San Marino is also notable in that cars are prohibited in much of the town center.
Set in the historic centre of the city, the palazzo was built on the site of a medieval household. Construction began in 1884 and took ten years to complete. It used stone from the Titano caves, and the soft yellow stone is well worth seeing at sunset when it is at its most stunning.The interior of the building is equally stunning with art works and tapestries. The grand entrance hall leads up a staicase to the council chambers, congress and hearing halls and voting room, from here you can enjoy beautiful views of the square below.
Basilica del Santo
The Basilica del Santo is considered to be the most important church in San Marino and it is certainly the most spectacular.. Although built in the 19th century it retains some of the original structures from the one of the first christian monuments which occupied the site many years previously. The bell tower dates back to around 1600.The artefacts and remains of San Marino, the city’s patron Saint, are containes in an urn under the altar. There is also a 17th century throne of the Captains Regent, which is still used in ceremonies, and there is a staircase near the bell tower which leads to the 16th century church of St.Peter which was carved out of the rock, where is it said that San Marino slept.
Museo di Stato Repubblica di San Marino
The State Museum of San Marino dates back to the 19th century and houses a variety of historical and artistic collections illustrating the history of the republic. On the first floor there are archeological finds, some of which date back as far as 8 BC, and there is evidence that a monastery existed in San Marino since the 6th century.On the first floor there are art works from artists which include Strozzi, Giambono and Passerotti.
Museo di Auto d’Epoca – Museo dell’Automobile di San Martino in Rio e Scuderia San Martino
The museum opened in 1956 and contains a display of racing vehicles from the late 18th century up until the 1970’s.Here are exhibited more than 400 vehicles among the most prestigious old cars in the world, such as the famous Auto Avio Costruzioni 815, the first car built by Enzo Ferrari. San Marino has a long history with Formula 1 motor racing and the San Marino Grand Prix at nearby Imola has been one of the most famous. The museum is a must for all those who enjoy seeing historical cars and motorcycles. The museum is located just outside San Marino on the Rimini road
.The Car Museum is opened on Sunday, from 10.30 to 12.30 a.m. and from 3.30 to 6.30 p.m., and on Friday, from 9 to 12 p.m..
Via Barbieri 12 – 42018 San Martino in Rio (RE)
Tel. e fax: 0522 636133
There are an abundance of shops and lovely things to buy in San Marino and with no V.A.T, things are a lot cheaper.
Changing of the Guard
The Nucleo Uniformato della Guardia di Rocca, which are the uniformed guards of the fortress, perform the ceremony of the changing of the guard at the Palazzo Publico in Piazza della Liberta every hour on the half hour from 08.30 to 18.30 from mid May through until the end of September. The Guardia di Rocca, founded in 1754,currently has two departments, the Nucleo Uniformato and the Compagnia d’Artiglieria. The Nucleo Uniformato keeps public order and guards the country’s borders whilst the Compagnia d’Artiglieria serves at ceremonies and holidays.The uniform is very impressive with dark-green jackets decorated with red and white braiding, red trousers with a green stripe, and a cap with red pom-poms and white spats. The ceremonial uniform also includes gold epaulets and a leather helmet sporting red and white ostrich feathers.
Borgo Maggiore is the second largest “Castello” in San Marino after Dogana. Among its points of interest are the Piazza Grande, where the markets and agricultural fairs are still held, the Clock Tower and the Chiesa del Suffragio, the State Hospital, the cableway to the City of San Marino and the Municipal Hall in the Casa di Borgo Maggiore, Via XXVIII Luglio.
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