The Republic of San Marino is a small independent state that is easy to reach and perfect for a day trip if you are already on vacation on the Adriatic Coast and Romagna.
The territory is organized into Castelli (municipalities), the Capital City of San Sam Rino and its historic center, perched on Mount Titano, holds the most interesting places to visit: this is where our day trip will focus.
Thanks to its small size, the most striking sights can be admired in a single day.The medieval town is among the best-preserved in Europe and reserves many surprises for tourists, which is why it was also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.
How to enter in San Marino
To get to San Marino, it is necessary to have a car or use bus connections from cities such as Rimini, Riccione, Cattolica, and Pesaro.
Entrance is free and there is no charge to enter, and also, although it is not part of the European Union and the Schengen Area, passports are not required for all Italian and Schengen Area citizens but ID cards are sufficient. The currency used also is Euro, so it is very convenient for shopping.
If you are traveling by car, once you pass the Customs House where the inscription “Welcome to the ancient Land of Freedom” stands out, continue to the historic center located on top of Mount Titan and surrounded by the ancient walls. Along the way there are several paid and unpaid parking lots where it is recommended to leave the car since the historic center is all pedestrian, in particular the P11 parking lot is located in Borgo Maggiore where it is possible to take the San Marino cable car that leads directly inside the walls.
Stage 1: the Three Towers
Once you arrive, to immediately experience the medieval and magical atmosphere of the town, you can take the walk that joins the three Towers: a route that you can take on foot among nature and enchanting views of the hills and the valley overlooking the mountain.
You can start from the First Tower also called Guaita. It dates back to the year 1000. Go in to visit it (admission 8 euros with a cumulative ticket or 6 euros with TuttoSanMarino Card) and note that the restored complex in perfect condition also includes the ancient prisons, the Bell Tower and Penna Tower, a well and the Chapel of St. Barbara.
Climbing to the highest point of the Tower you can admire the whole surrounding area, all the way to the coast.
Continuing on the patrol walkway you arrive at the Second Tower, (watch out for the “Witches’ Pass“!). The Second Tower or Cesta was used until the 1600s as a fortified watchtower, but today its interior houses the Museum of Ancient Weapons, which we recommend you visit.
Finally you come to the Third Tower, Montale. You climb up some iron steps and can admire the exterior, but the interior cannot be visited.
Stage 2: Piazza della Libertà
Back in the streets of the historic center, head towards Piazza della Libertà (Freedom Square): in the center stands the Statue of Liberty, symbol of the long tradition of freedom of San Marino’s state identity. It is worth looking out from the belvedere from which to admire the entire surrounding landscape and the splendid view of the countryside and the Riviera: we are at the highest point of the city and the view is marvelous!
Stage 3: the museums
As for San Marino’s museums, there are several between public and private: in such a small city, think that there are as many as 12! Don’t miss a visit to the State Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art. If you are looking for the best museums forh children, the Museum of Curiosities is very funny, the Museum of Creatures of the Night is a little bit scary but also suitable for the little ones, and the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Stage 4: shopping
Along the road to get to the historic center you will notice numerous stores and shopping malls. On th other hand, the streets of the medieval village are full of small stores selling souvenirs, typical products and local handicrafts with little gems of local gastronomy not to be missed.
One gift that always makes a big impression is the Torta Tre Monti, a specialty found only in San Marino that keeps adults and greedy children happy.
Among the items and souvenirs that can be purchased in San Marino, thanks in part to a lower tax burden than in Italy are also jewelry, perfumes, liquor and weapons including reproductions of traditional crossbows.
Stage 5: let’s eat!
This short but intense itinerary can only end with a good meal in one of the small restaurants in the historic center or by moving a bit to some of the trattorias or piadinerias in the Castelli of San Marino.