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    • As per Wikipedia, San Marino is "the only surviving medieval microstate in the Italian peninsula." Which is pretty cool. These microstate countries, including Andorra, Vatican City , Liechtenstein and Monaco, are fascinating. San Marino and the Titano Mount were designated as World Heritage by UNESCO in 2008.

      San Marino's history dates back to 301 AD (in legend); the independent republic is 23.63 miles. It's exceptionally scenic, with most people visiting San Marino to see its beautiful castelli or castles dating to the 13th century.

      As per one travel blog:

      San Marino is a picture perfect town with a stunning setting. So, why don’t more people travel here? We are no different. In 2014, we spent almost one month in Italy and we didn’t even consider a visit to San Marino. It just doesn’t get the hype that other nearby destinations do (like Rome, Florence, and Venice). Maybe this is a good thing. For those in the know, fewer visitors makes strolling the city streets and enjoying the views from the towers a less crowded experience.

      San Marino is a country that exceeded our expectations. It’s gorgeous, it’s fun to explore, the views over the vineyards of nearby Italy are breathtaking, and the food is delicious.

      We visited in 2017, so we'll share some highlights from our trip. For example, the photograph and video included with this post is of the Passo Delle Streghe ("Witches' Staircase") that is a walkway between the first two of the three historic castles.

    • San Marino is easy to reach. For those who are navigating Italy by train, you can take the train to Rimini, then catch a connecting bus from there. As per Walks of Italy, "San Marino is easily reached from central Italian cities like Rimini (30 mins), Bologna (1.5 hours) and Florence (2.5 hours) by bus or rental car." Busses will take you directly up to the main citta atop Monte Titano (Mount Titan), but you can also be dropped off in Borgo Maggiore, the city at the base of Monte Titano.

      For amazing views, you can take the cable car up from Borgo Maggiore to Monte Titano.

      It's a quick ride, but don't forget to look down at Borgo Maggiore as you ascend!

      Once you get off the cable car, you're a few short steps from reaching the historic Piazza della Libertà.

      In this video you can see the Palazzo Pubblico (‘Public Palace’) San Marino's official Government Building, as well as the white marble Statua della Libertà, symbolizing liberty. Everywhere you look from the square there is a stunning view.

    • Once you've seen the sights of the Palazzo Publico, start roaming the streets of San Marino. The winding streets, built hundreds upon hundreds of years ago, are incredibly scenic and charming.

      No space is neglected, and around every corner there's something charming to see.

      In the photograph below you can see the Basilica di San Marino, directly around the corner from the above videos.

    • There are many boutiques, shops and restaurants in San Marino Citta that sell everything from jewelry to collectible coins, chocolate to ninja weapons (!).

      The old city is also car-free, which makes it a pedestrian paradise. Do be aware that the city is set on a mountain, so steep inclines are to be expected.

      We stayed at Hotel La Grotta, which is a welcoming and newly updated hotel in the heart of the old city. It's right next door to some charming restaurants as well.

      The unique food of San Marino is based heavily within its region, Emiglia-Romagna. My personal favorite San Marino food is piada, a special kind of toasted flatbread you can get filled with vegetables, meat or cheese. You can see it in the foreground of the image below from Ristorante Righi.

    • But let's face it, you're here to see the amazing castles that are the centerpieces of San Marino's skyline. Heading up the mountain still higher, you'll arrive at the castle entry.

      There are 3 torre (towers) of castles in San Marino. Sadly, only the last two are open to the public to tour. The first and oldest is closed to tours as it's structurally in need of repairs. Don't miss walking around as many turrets, views, walls and walkways as possible to see the stunning vistas and architecture.

      Admission is very reasonably priced and if you'd like, you can get a pass for San Marino attractions at a tourism office.

    • Wow, thanks for the write-up. I don't know how I never knew about them. It's pretty amazing that they have one of the strongest economies in the world, a budget surplus, no debt, and one of the highest GDP per capita found anywhere. Microstates are sounding pretty good, I feel a little bit jealous.

      Photo from Wikipedia: