For history lovers and those who enjoy beautiful panoramas, the Most Serene Republic of San Marino should be a must-see. San Marino, one of the oldest and smallest republics in the world, is technically not part of Italy. It is located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and Le Marche near the Adriatic Sea. This makes it an easy day trip from Florence or Bologna.
Here are 8 reasons to visit San Marino.
- San Marino was founded in the 4th Century AD. It is one of the oldest and smallest independent states in the world. It has a population of just 30,000 (the city of Rome boasts more than 2,600,000.) It is home to UNESCO’s world heritage sites such as Mount Titano (San Marino’s highest point), San Marino City, and Borgo Maggiore.
- San Marino can be reached by bus or rental car from most central Italian cities such as Rimini (30 minutes), Bologna (1 hour) and Florence (2 hours).
- The tiny country, named “Most Serene Republic of San Marino”, is a tranquil oasis that allows you to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. San Marino offers a wonderful alternative to Tuscany, with its unspoiled countryside, rolling hills, wineries, and fortresses. You can even see the Riviera Romagnola beaches from San Marino on a clear day!
- Are you looking for great deals on Italian brands? San Marino is the perfect place to shop tax-free! The country is small but has many chic boutiques and shops, as well as malls (Atlante, Azzurro), and outlets (San Marino Factory Outlet, Queen Outlet) that offer a wide variety of electronics and clothing for men and women.
- San Marino’s cuisine is simple but delicious. It uses flavors from nearby regions and combines them with local herbs and spices. Faggioli con Le Cotiche is a bean and bacon soup, rabbit stew, and torta Tre Monti (chocolate-hazelnut layer cake). Enjoy your meal with a delicious local wine or tilus, a truffle-infused after-dinner liquor.
- It’s easy to cross from Italy to San Marino. There is no border control so you don’t need your passport. However, you can request a stamp at the tourist department to take home as a souvenir. Although the local currency is the Euro, the official language is Italian. However, most shops and restaurants can speak English. Check out our list of useful phrases and words for tourists ).
- San Marino has a variety of museums, from traditional paintings to quirky ones. Highlights include the State Museum, which houses large collections of coins, paintings and archeological items, San Francesco Museum (16th-century paintings), Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and Wax Museum. The Museum of Curious Objects and Ferrari and Abarth Museum are also highlights.
- San Marino, an independent country, has its own military. It is one of the most small in the world. From April through September, the fascinating tradition of changing the guard takes place every half hour at the Palazzo Pubblico. It is held from 8am to 6pm.