It was another early morning train that took me from Venice to the Adriatic seaside town of Rimini. I wasn’t there for the sea and it’s beaches, however. Rimini was the jumping off point to San Marino, the landlocked enclave that claims to be the oldest republic in the world.
I’d been traveling the past week via my Eurail pass, but when I disembarked in Rimini, I had to find the bus station out front of the train station from the 30 minutes ride to San Marino, as there is no train station.
The steep bus ride up the slope of Mount Titano offered sweeping views of the Italian countryside.
San Marino’s economy functions mostly from finance and tourism. It was clear on the walk up the hill from the bus stop from all the ‘duty-free’ shops that much of the microstate’s revenue came from it’s reputation as a place to find tax-free bargains.
The Public Plaza and San Marino City Town Hall
Basilica di San Marino
After the short uphill hike into the city, I stopped that one of the city’s main squares, the one in front of the Palazzo Pubblico (City Hall). The second building is San Marino’s main cathedral, the Basilica di San Marino.
The morning had been warm and muggy near the coast, and a thick layer of fog had blanketed much of the countryside on the train journey in. It had continued as the bus had ascended up the steep hill to the city. After a short time walking around, the fog had lifted until it slightly blanket the castle at the top of Mount Titano.
The Three Towers of San Marino, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the top tourist draw in this small county. All of the towers are set dramatically on the mountaintop.
The first two towers, set on the summits known as Guaita & Cesta, are open to tourists who have come to see the 14th century fortifications.
The Museo delle armi antiche di San Marino (The Ancient Weapons Museum of San Marino) is located in the second tower and has an informative display of weapons acquired from the early 1900s and earlier.
The Museo di Stato is a collection of the artwork and sculpture acquired by the microstate’s government over the years.
After the short bus ride back into Rimini, it was off to Florence for the evening.
It was a cool and wet evening when I arrived in Florence, a city I’d visited twice in the late 90s on those trips. Finding the city mostly abandoned of tourists was quite a pleasant surprise for me. (I’ll cover the evening in Florence in a future post.)