San Marino – the oldest republic in the world
September 17, 2020
Today I report to you about the fifth smallest country in the world, San Marino. San Marino has a long history and is probably also the oldest republic in the world. Some of you probably think, where is this piece of land actually located? To give you an idea, here is a small section of a map. San Marino is completely surrounded by Italy and covers only 60 square kilometres.
For me, such miniature states are of course an absolute must to increase the number of countries visited. Thanks to San Marino I have now visited 67 countries and hopefully more will follow soon. But in this huge country, let us first take a closer look at history. So why is San Marion the oldest republic in the world?
After all, this state has been asserting its independence for 1700 years. The whole thing also starts with a legend. For who else but Saint Marinus could be the eponym of San Marino? According to the legend, Marinus fled from the persecution of the Christians to seek refuge on Mount Titano. There he founded the first Christian community together with other believers. Eventually a Roman woman converted to Christianity and gave Marinus the mountain as a gift (what else can you give for convertion?). When Saint Marinus died in 366, his followers founded the Republic of San Marino there. Over the years, San Marino expanded its territory and was able to defend its independence through skilful diplomacy, agriculture and a solid army. Even the Italian wars of independence as well as the fascist period survived San Marino. Now that we have all learnt something about the history of San Marino, let’s talk a little about what to expect in San Marino. Are the borders of this old republic still so well guarded?
I arrived at the border at noon, or rather I passed the border at noon. San Marino is not EU but somehow it is, so to speak. Except for a police car, which stood at a beautiful light blue-white flag of San Marino and waved me directly through (or waved me as a greeting) there was really nothing. Here it must be mentioned that it was also rather a dirt road. The official borders are apparently somewhere else or do not exist anymore. And so I was able to drive into San Marino on similar toll-free roads. The roads up to the camping site where I was driving were indeed almost single-lane. Rather village-like I felt. Well, I had only seen a part of it. First I wanted to check in at the campsite Centro Vacanze and later I wanted to see San Marino.
Well, what can I say? Three days later I still felt like I was in the same place on the campsite. Either in the hammock or on the deckchair by the pool. In between I jumped in the pool from time to time. So I cannot help but praise this really great campsite. Everyone around me came and went. Only I stayed. I was almost a permanent camper and a respected member of the campsite. Up to this point I also thought that the campsite was probably San Marino. 60 square kilometres? You have got to be kidding me! But on the fourth day I made it and set off for the small metropolis and capital of San Marino, San Marino Citta. This is where the sights of this pretty hilly country are finally to be found. In the capital live 12% of the inhabitants of San Marino. So no less than 4000 inhabitants live in San Marino Citta. For those who now want to calculate the number of inhabitants of San Marino with a rule of three Naaaaaa? Exactly, about 33000 inhabitants comprise all of San Marino. And first a few pictures from the sweet capital follow.
I personally liked San Marino very much. In the capital city I can slowly work my way up to the sights along nice alleys and buildings. The landmarks are sitting up on the mountains. And these are the three towers of San Marino, which you can visit in a very relaxed way. The towers ultimately represent the basic values of San Marino, namely the defence of the freedom of the old republic. One starts with the Guaita Tower, the oldest fortress, which was built around the 10th century. Afterwards you walk to the second tower, Cesta, which was built in the 11th century and was the seat of the guard and some prisons. Finally, there is the third tower, Motale, which is the smallest but was the most strategic for the defence of the city. It served as an observation post and was built in the 13th century. Unfortunately, Montale was not so photogenic for me and therefore I only show photos of the first two towers.
Finally, I am sorry to say that I am a little disappointed that the four nights were not enough to become honorary citizens of San Marino and to obtain a passport. Nevertheless I had a really nice and relaxed time in San Marino and it is really a cute little country. One day sightseeing could be enough and you can see everything in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. Should someone ever travel there. Please give my best regards 🙂