It has its own government, a seat at the United Nations, and produces its own stamps and coins. It also claims to be the oldest republic in Europe. Yet San Marino covers an area of only 61 sq km, and its borders are wholly contained within northern Italy.
The capital (also called San Marino) sits on top of the majestic Mount Titano and is crowned by imposing fortifications. It has long been a magnet for tourists, attracted by spectacular views over the Appenines and the historic hilltown, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
The Walled City of San Marino
It is a place of curiosities. Visitors can buy the local stamps and coins, or pay to have their passport stamped at the Tourist Office (no passport is actually required to enter the country). Or they can visit one of the quirky museums: these include a Museum of Torture and a Museum of Curiosities as well as more conventional offerings. On the way up the hill you will also encounter a sunken crossbow pitch where the Crossbow Corps of the San Marino army still demonstrates its art during the Palio della Balestra Antica, the ancient crossbow competition that takes place every year on 3 September.
Fortresses of San Marino
Walking in the Parco Naturale
Eating in San Marino
Travelling to San Marino
The nearest railway station is in Rimini, and a bus for San Marino leaves several times a day (from the bus stop opposite the station, outside Burger King). If you choose to drive to San Marino you may find it easier to use a car park below the town and take the lift to the top as the approach road has several steep hairpin bends. Lifts and a cable car are available to take visitors to the different levels of the hill but a certain amount of walking and climbing is necessary if you wish to see the whole of the city.
San Marino can get very crowded at peak times so it is advisable to avoid weekends and the main summer season if possible.