How many times have I been around him, yet in my life I had not yet gone to see San Marino. Big mistake! Only now do I realize what I was missing
It is possible to visit San Marino in one day. The oldest republic in the world is only about forty minutes away from nearby Rimini, so why not combine a beach holiday with the fact of going to see this beautiful country with an exceptional medieval village?
What to see in San Marino: 10 things not to miss
To facilitate your visit, I will list them in order on the route starting from the door of San Francesco.
1 - Gate of San Francesco
How not to start frommain access to the city. Going up from the parking lot you will find this small door which represents the official entrance to the historic center. Built in 1361 as a guard post, it was subsequently enlarged and raised in 1451. It takes this name as it was obtained from the walls of the Franciscan Convent. In front of the door there is always a policeman indicating access.
2 - Museum of torture
Step inside the walls and on your right you will notice this very special museum. It is a museum, indicated as one of the most disturbing in the world, dedicated to all the torture techniques that have characterized history. I have not visited it for several reasons. Firstly, due to lack of time, secondly because personally I am not attracted to these issues. All that is torture, anguish and pain I don't like. However, I understand that for lovers of the genre it is considered an interesting museum and for this reason I mention it.
3 - State Museum
Continuing on the uphill road to the left of the San Francesco gate you will arrive at Piazza del Titano where you will find the State Museum of San Marino. It was initially located in a different building. In fact, it was inaugurated in 1899 in Palazzo Valloni, not far from Piazza Titano. In 2001 it was transferred to the current structure, namely Palazzo Pergami Belluzzi.
4 - The Piazza della Libertà with its statue
Going up again, after a few steps you will arrive at Piazza della Libertà, the center of the city of San Marino. Here you can visit the Palazzo Pubblico where the country's government resides. In the square in front of the palace is the Statue of Liberty.
Clearly, this is a Carrara marble statue donated to the Republic of San Marino by Countess Otilia Heyroth Wagener of Berlin. This square is also perfect for a small break, if the day is beautiful you will have a spectacular view of the hills, a breathtaking view that has its own reason even in the evening.
5 - The Public Palace
I was struck by how this palace, although not majestic, is particularly charming and well-kept. The government building is the heart of political life and can be visited for a fee. You will have access to the beautiful Council Chamber where the 60 councilors elected by the citizens meet every 5 years.
The various state ceremonies are also held in the public palace and you can see the changing of the guard which, from May to September, takes place every hour between 9.30 and 17.30.
I think the Palazzo Pubblico is one of the things not to forget to see in San Marino. It is very strange and curious to be in the place where the fate of an entire state is decided.
5 - Basilica of the Saint
It is the hub of the religious life of San Marino and if you visit the city do not forget to visit us. I am not the best person to describe the artistic aspects of this important place to you. I refer you to a web page where you can satisfy your curiosity. Find more information HERE.
6 - The cable car and the panoramic points
The cable car is only a few meters from Piazza della Libertà, every 15 minutes it connects the P11 car park to the city center. I think it is a nice way to reach San Marino. The whole area around the arrival of the cable car is equipped with panoramic points, it is completely free of buildings with an incredible view.
7 - The three towers and the witches' path
The towers protecting the city represent the most beautiful area, in my opinion, of San Marino. Every time I go up on rocks of this type, I always wonder how they built them. They have been built in areas so inaccessible which is difficult even to imagine. Instead it's all true. Hundreds and hundreds of years ago they were built and have been important landmarks ever since. At first from a military point of view, now instead as symbols of San Marino.
The two main towers to see are there Guaita and View. The Montale tower it is almost isolated and structurally different from the other two. Looking out from these two towers I asked myself yet another question that recurs in this situation: but who had the courage to attack San Marino, considering the unassailable position of Monte Titano?
I always ask myself in front of these fortresses, yet the territories are rich in them and many battles have been fought.
Returning to the towers. The Guaita tower comes also called Rocca Maggiore. The first residential nucleus of San Marino was built around it. It was a very important point for the defense of the city. Given its 360-degree view of the surrounding territory, it was essential for spotting possible enemies on the horizon.
A caretaker lived in the fortress and had to guard the territory. In case of danger he raised the alarm by ringing a bell, a bell that is still used to announce meetings of parliament or other state functions.
From the Guaita tower the trail of the witches, a very suggestive path that leads to the Cesta tower. It occupies the highest point of Monte Titano and represents the second defense point of San Marino. In the past it was used as a prison, now there is a Museum of Ancient Arms. It is very interesting to discover how some weapons derive from tools first used in the peasant context.
You can reach the Montale tower through a path surrounded by vegetation, unfortunately it is not open to the public and therefore you can take a “simple” photo of it.
10 - The crossbowmen quarry
It is located near the arrival of the cable car and, as its name implies, in the past it was used for the extraction of the stone also used for the restoration of the Palazzo Pubblico. The Palio dei Balestrieri takes place every year on 3 September.
How to visit the Republic of San Marino?
The State of San Marino covers an area of 61 square km, an important portion of the territory. The most visited place is of course the city center where you can find almost all the attractions that the country offers, including the government itself whose headquarters is the Palazzo Pubblico in Piazza della Libertà.
Reaching the fortified village on Mount Titano and therefore the city center is very simple, the directions are clear and there are several parking lots where you can leave your car.
In this regard, I highly recommend the parking P9 which has affordable rates and allows you to park near the Porta di San Francesco, the main access. The alternative is to use the panoramic cable car near the parking P11, in this way you will have the opportunity to combine the entrance to the city with a panoramic view of the hills below.
San Marino really struck me a lot and I had the pleasure of visiting it on a particular, almost mystical day. The city of San Marino, as you know, was fortified on Mount Titano and it often happens that the clouds envelop the mountain but do not cover it to the top. The area of the three towers remains in the sunlight and this allows for a spectacular view of a sea of clouds, just like the view from the aircraft porthole.
Another thing I liked is that all of them the things to see are practically in succession. The main road, where no cars pass, starts from the Porta di San Francesco and ends at the Montale Tower, the third and last tower, the most distant. Just follow this path and you will have the pleasure of discovering all of San Marino.
If I could go back in time I would have gone to visit San Marino much, much earlier. It is a day trip that deserves a lot. Live it calmly, savoring every panorama and if you are lucky enough to see it on a day with low clouds as I did, well, it will be exceptional!
I leave you two good videos of the great Surio that will show you the beautiful San Marino even better.