"San Marino, The Hilltop Nation" San Marino by von.otter
San Marino Travel Guide: 377 reviews and 1,182 photos
“San Marino was all that I expected, and more; for combined with its historic interest are the glorious natural beauties of its situation on the top of the great jagged Monte Titano, which on the east commands a glorious view of the sea twelve miles away, on the north the picturesque valley of the Mareccia, on the west the mountains of Montefeltro, and on the south the distant peaks of the Apennines are clearly to be seen with Monte Nerone rising in the midst.”
— from “Italian Castles and Country Seats” 1911 by Tryphosa Bates Batcheller (1876-1952)
GREAT EXPECTATIONS Italy has many hilltop towns, such as San Leo (see von.otter’s San Leo pages) and Urbino. San Marino is a hilltop country. Located on the peaks and slopes of Monte Titano, the highest in the Apennines, San Marino claims the distinction as the world’s oldest surviving republic. The mountain stands 2,457 feet above sea level. In AD 301 it was the perfect hideaway for Marinus, a Christian stonemason, seeking refuge from the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian. The eponymous Marinus founded a village on this mountain that would become San Marino.
We choose to visit San Marino on 2.June, celebrated as Italian Independence Day, when the people of Italy voted in a plebiscite for a republic form of government rather than a monarchy. This date is a national holiday throughout Italy; and it did seem as if every Italian decided to visit San Marino on their day-off!
This glazed tile memorial to San Marino’s founder, St. Marimus, was found about the streets of the town. Our Saint holds a model of Monte Titano, with its three peaks and three towers. He hid here from his persecutors and founded the Christian community that would grow into an independent country.
The parking lot near to the top of Monte Titano was filled; we had to park down the mountain and ride a bus to the top. The crowds were heavy. What gave me a heavy heart, though, were the gift shops lining the narrow streets, selling cheap, China-made trinkets. It took me 45 minutes to adjust to this disappointing fact.
I managed to overlook the tawdriness of these shops and focus on the splendid, sweeping view and the main sights of San Marino, its three castles, called towers. I was richly rewarded for my efforts.
On each of Monte Titano’s three peaks is one of the three towers of San Marino. These three towers, topped by feathers, combined with the Latin assertion Libertas form the country’s coat of arms.
- Pros:The views, the history, the Three Towers.
- Cons:Shops, everywhere, selling cheap China-made trinkets.
The vehicle license plate (see photo #1) for San Marino features the country's coat-of-arms. The three towers, on each... more travel advice
“The traveller will not forget to see the library, the museum, and the hospital, and will reserve as the crowning... more travel advice
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