Italy is made up of 20 regions, each with distinctive characteristics. In addition to that, there are two autonomous nations completely within Italy’s borders. Here, you’ll get an overview of the Republic of San Marino to get you started on planning a San Marino trip.
Long before Italy was Italy, it was a collection of city-states – one of which was the Republic of San Marino. When Italy unified in the late 19th century, San Marino chose to remain independent, which is the status it still enjoys today.
Despite San Marino’s small size, it’s larger than many visitors think. There are more than 32,000 people who live in the country’s nine cities and draws some two million visitors every year. Still, it’s reputed to be the only country in the world with more vehicles than people.
San Marino lays claim to the titles of oldest constitutional republic and oldest surviving sovereign state. Both of these claims are based on San Marino having been founded by a monk (who later became a saint) in 301 CE. It’s not technically a member of the European Union, but the euro is San Marino’s currency. Italian is the official language of San Marino. It’s a member of the Council of Europe (the smallest country in the council) and is an extremely wealthy country, the main sources of income being related to banking and tourism.
(Sidebar? The small numbers of euro coins and postage stamps minted and printed in and for San Marino are primarily snapped up by collectors – they’re both sizeable income generators for the tiny country.)
There are no airports in San Marino, but visitors can fly into nearby Rimini and then take a bus to San Marino. Likewise, there is also no train station in San Marino, so buses – or rental cars – are the best ways to get around San Marino. The mountaintop City of San Marino can be reached via an aerial tram from the town at the base of the mountain.
The City of San Marino is the most-visited (and most-photographed) part of San Marino, thanks in large part to the Three Towers of San Marino. These were built from the 11th to the 14th centuries. Each sits majestically on one of the three peaks of Monte Titano, and two of them are open to the public.
Incidentally, while San Marino is a fun stop for any “country collecting” travelers, note that there’s no official border crossing or passport checkpoint. You can get a passport stamp at the tourist office, but you have to pay for it.
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