- For other places with the same name, see San Marino (disambiguation).
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San Marino (officially the Republic of San Marino) is the third smallest state in Europe (after the Vatican City and Monaco), and claims to be the world's oldest republic. According to tradition, it was founded by a Christian stonemason named Marinus in 301 A.D.
The capital city, which is also called San Marino, is where most of the tourist attractions are. Located at the top of a mountain, the City of San Marino is full of old buildings, restaurants, and stores catering to tourists, as well as several small museums, and has beautiful views of the nearby towns and surrounding countryside.
San Marino is the world's oldest republic and Europe's third smallest state. It is the sole survivor of the independent city states that used to make up the Italian peninsula before the unification of Italy. It lies 657m above sea level with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and Adriatic coast, and is situated only 10km from Rimini. Legend has it that the founder of San Marino, a stonemason arrived from the island of Rab in Dalmatia, climbed Mount Titano to found a small community of Christians, persecuted for their faith by the Emperor Diocletian.
San Marino is made up of a few towns dotted around the mountain sides. The capital of San Marino, the City of San Marino (Città di San Marino), is situated high up on a mountain top. The capital is surrounded by a wall and three distinct towers overlook the rest of the country. The site "San Marino: Historic Centre and Mount Titano" has become part of the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008.
The towns surrounding the capital are more industrial and generally not as attractive as the main city. San Marino is 20 times bigger than Monaco and half the size of Liechtenstein.
San Marino's foreign policy is aligned with that of Italy, which surrounds it. Social and political trends in the republic also track closely with those of its larger neighbour.
Although San Marino is not officially part of the Schengen area, there are no border controls when travelling between Italy and San Marino, so it can for all practical purposes be considered part of the Schengen area. However, foreigners staying for more than 20 days in San Marino must have a permit from the government.
San Marino has no railway stations. The nearest major railway station is at Rimini.
You should have no problems driving into San Marino. Border controls do not exist.
The City of San Marino has limited parking, so why not leave your car in nearby Borgo Maggiore and take the cable car up to the city? There is plenty of parking near the cable car station.
A bus runs from Rimini to San Marino daily at regular intervals, with stops along the way in Dogana, Serravalle, Domagnano, and Borgo Maggiore. A return ticket costs around €9. This bus can be found just outside the Rimini train station. Note that if you show up just a few minutes before departure it may be full and you may be told to wait until the next bus, one hour later. It is perhaps then advisable to show up a little bit earlier to ensure enough seats remain on the bus. Tickets can be bought on the bus.
Once you're inside the walled city, it's small enough to simply walk around. There are only a few streets on which cars are able to drive (and only if they are small cars).
There is a 1.5km cable railway (funivia) connecting the city of San Marino to Borgo Maggiore. €2.80 for a one-way ticket, €4.50 round-trip.
Outside of the capital, walking is not so easy. San Marino is the only country in the world with more vehicles than people, and it shows—sidewalks are inconsistent at best, especially when going between towns. However, there is a shaded stone path, Costa dell'Arnella, between the City of San Marino and Borgo Maggiore. It starts at the western end of Contrada Omerelli and ends a short distance from the Borgo Maggiore cable car station. Because the City of San Marino is so high up, the path is quite steep.
The bus from Rimini is somewhat useful for travel between towns, and San Marino also has its own bus system.
The people in San Marino speak a very clear Italian.
English is learned at school in San Marino and Russian is spoken in many shops due to the many Russian tourists.
The Akademio Internacia de la Sciencoj San Marino (AIS) (English: International Academy of Sciences San Marino) is one of San Marino's main higher education institutes and actually uses the Esperanto language.
San Marino’s main attractions are the three towers, which feature on the national flag. Only the Guaita Tower and the Cesta Tower are open to visitors, and are small castles at the top of Mount Titano and offering excellent views over San Marino and Italy as well the Adriatic Sea.
Cesta is the larger of the two and has a small museum of armour and weapons. You can purchase the “Yellow Card” for €3 which lets you enter one castle, or the “Red Card” which lets you enter both and is €4.50. Between the two towers is a path which follows the city walls along the side of a cliff. There are good photo opportunities of the towers. Other attractions include:
- Piazza del Liberta: This small square offers expansive views and are fringed on both sides by two government buildings, including the Palazzo Pubblico, the town hall.
- State Museum (Museo di Stato), Piazzetta del Titano, 1, Città di San Marino, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Summer 8AM–8PM, winter 9AM–5PM. Museum of art, architecture, and archaeology. €3.
- St. Francis' Museum (Museo San Francesco), Via Basilicius, Città di San Marino, ☎ . Summer 8AM–8PM, winter 9AM–5PM. Art collection located in a centuries-old cloister. €3.
- Torture Museum (Museo della Tortura), Contrada San Francesco n° 2, Città di San Marino, ☎ . 10AM–8PM daily during the summer; reduced hours in the winter. Small, kitschy museum catering to tourists
- Wax Museum (Museo delle Cere), via Lapicidi Marini, 17 - 47890 San Marino, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Oct–Mar 9AM–12:30PM and 2–5:30PM, Apr–Jun and Sep 9AM–6:30PM, Jul–Aug 9AM–8PM.
Otherwise, simply walk around! The narrow cobbled streets are full of surprises and you can go up and down the city to explore. There are virtually no cars and the streets have a very medieval feel. You can climb the city walls and walk along it at places. Some sights you may see include Basilica di San Marino, a Roman styled church.
Outside of the capital, nearby Borgo Maggiore has a historic centre. You can also see the San Marino lake in Faetano where fish can be caught.
Get your passports stamped at the tourist information centre. This is an excellent souvenir as they stick a visa tax stamp and then an official ink stamp over the top, €5.
The Parco naturale del Monte Titano has several hiking trails. To find them, go to the Cesta tower and walk through the gateway to the right of the museum entrance.
Biking is also popular.
- San Marino Adventures, Parco di Montecerreto, ☎ . 10AM-7:30PM, days vary by season. Activities including suspended trails, rock climbing, and ziplines.
San Marino uses the euro. It is one of several European countries that uses this common currency. All euro banknotes and coins are legal tender within all the countries.
Countries that have the euro as their official currency:
One euro is divided into 100 cents.
The official symbol for the euro is €, and its ISO code is EUR. There is no official symbol for the cent.
- Banknotes: Euro banknotes have the same design in all the countries.
- Normal coins: All eurozone countries have coins issued with a distinctive national design on one side, and a standard common design on the other side. Coins can be used in any eurozone country, regardless of the design used (e.g. a one-euro coin from Finland can be used in Portugal).
- Commemorative two euro coins: These differ from normal two euro coins only in their "national" side and circulate freely as legal tender. Each country may produce a certain amount of them as part of their normal coin production and sometimes "Europe-wide" two euro coins are produced to commemorate special events (e.g. the anniversary of important treaties).
- Other commemorative coins: Commemorative coins of other amounts (e.g. ten euros or more) are much rarer, and have entirely special designs and often contain non-negligible amounts of gold, silver or platinum. While they are technically legal tender at face value, their material or collector value is usually much higher and, as such, you will most likely not find them in actual circulation.
Like other states which have the Euro as their currency, San Marino has its own patterns on the back of the Euro coins. You can try to obtain these coins by simply going around buying things and collecting the coins that way, but a quicker solution is to buy the set in a souvenir shop. Pay attention, because some of these sets lack the €1 and €2 coins.
Souvenir and clothing shops are everywhere in the City of San Marino. A lot of the souvenir shops sell weapons, from swords to B-B guns.
Prices for items such as disposable cameras and batteries are cheaper in San Marino than they are in Italy. This is partly because in San Marino you don't have to pay the 20% IVA (VAT) that you have to pay in Italy.
Obviously Italian dishes, like pasta, pizza, gelato (Italian ice-cream), and whatever you eat in Italy. Restaurants are easy to find, and some offer tables with great views.
Supermarkets in San Marino are few and far-between, although the following can help in this area:
- Conad, Azzurro Shopping Center, V M Moretti 23, Serravalle.
- Sma Supermercati. Via del Passetto 113, Fiorentino
- Ristorante Terrazza Titano. Contrada del Collegio 31
- La Fratta, Via Salita alla Rocca, 14 (Next to the parking lot n.6).
- The local beer is very tasty.
- Spirits are also very commonly found, especially Limoncello, a lemon liquor.
- Try the locally produced wine.
- The coffee, like in its Italian neighbour, is superb.
Although San Marino has a few hotels, the seaside resort of Rimini has a lot more and is probably a cheaper option.
- Grand Hotel San Marino, The Grand Hotel San Marino rises on the peak of Monte Titano, close to the Rocche and the Old Town Center.
- Hotel Titano. Located right in the centre of the town. The rooms are small but comfortably furnished and it is connected to a very nice restaurant. The downside is that unless you are an early riser, the nearby church bells will ring every 15 minutes to remind you of the time starting from early in the morning.
- Hostel San Marino, Via 28 Luglio, 224, Borgo Maggiore (When entering Borgo Maggiore on the main highway, the hostel is a yellow building on your left. If arriving on the bus from Rimini, ask the driver to let you off at the Tavolucci stop.), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Located in Borgo Maggiore, very close to a grocery store, a restaurant, and a bus stop. A short €1.50 bus ride from the city. €20-25 for a bunk, €65-110 for a private room.
- The Akademio Internacia de la Sciencoj San Marino (AIS) (International Academy of Sciences San Marino). Science institute that uses the Esperanto language.
- Università degli Studi di San Marino (University of the Republic of San Marino).
San Marino is a safe country. Like in any other place that attracts many tourists, you should watch out for pickpockets.
This is a very healthy place. If you become ill, procedures are the same as the European Union, although serious conditions will likely see you transferred to Rimini.
San Marino is a very proud country and it should be viewed in this respect. Be respectful when having photos taken with the guards, a smile will do, hand gestures/funny faces are not received well.
It would be considered very offensive to call them "Italians" - not that they don't like Italians, but they are just extremely proud of their independence.
Free wifi is available in parts of the city.
- Holy See (The) (Vatican Apostolic Nunciature in San Marino), P.le Domus Plebis, ☎ .
- Italy, Avenue A. Onofri 117, ☎ .
- Portugal, Battisti St, nº 3.
- Romania, Via Valle di Marco 4, phone: +378 0549 995400, Fax: +378 0549 995 576 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Honorary Consulate General of Romania in San Marino