San Marino Journals

San Marino - Toy-town in Italy

Best of IgoUgo

An October 2002 trip to San Marino by SaraP

Palazzo Publico on Piazza della Liberta Photo, San Marino, Europe More Photos
Quote: This tiny landlocked republic has no apparent borders to separate it from its powerful neighbour, yet it is fiercely independent -- it prints its own stamps, mints its own euros, and stamps passports on presentation (and payment) at the tourist office. It also boasts an imposing and extravagant town hall (Palazzo Publico), whose marvellously costumed republican "army"'s sole purpose appears to be the changing of the guard.

San Marino - Toy-town in Italy

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Liberta - San Marino Photo, San Marino, Europe
Quote:
Visitors to the capital of the Most Serene Republic of San Marino (also San Marino) must be fit - to call it "steep" is an understatement. however, the panoramic views of the Po valley and Adriatic from anywhere on the hilltop (Mount Titano) make it worthwhile wandering on the cobbles. Visit the Piazza della Liberta with the imposing white-walled Palazzo Publico and Basilica del Santo church to see its proud impressive history (mostly spent defending its independence - its motif is 3 turrets and "liberta"), and claims to trace its history back a millennium. The "Arengo" (goverment) goes back to 1000, electing Councils until relegated to ceremonial status in the 1700s. However, on 5 ...Read More

On top of the world - La Rocca

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Quote:
At the summit of the hill on which San Marino is built is La Rocca, more properly called the "Guaita" (or First Tower -- the first of the towers whose turrets feature on the republic's coat of arms). It's really a fortress rather than just a tower, and dates back to the 1000s (though you can tell from its fairly pristine look that it's been renovated and been given a lick of paint or 3 much more recently than that). Amazingly, the pentagonal structure was not built or constructed but sculpted direct from the stone of the hilltop for use as a look-out tower and part of the fortification. Now you know the republic's somewhat turbulent history and their (understandable) paranoia about being a ti...Read More
Proud Garibaldi Photo, San Marino, Europe
Quote:
And some history there is, considering that you're talking about the world's oldest republic. If you're looking for stats, it's also the third smallest state in Europe (after the Vatican City and principality of Monaco) and, as an enclave within Italy, it's not surprising that its c17,000 inhabitants speak the Italian language, are allied to Italian social, foreign and economic policies, eat Italian food, use Italian Euros (although they have cannily minted a collection of limited edition sets of their own to flog on to numismatists at an enormous mark-up -- see entry above). Tradition has it that the place is named for a Christian stonecutter from Dalmatia called Marino who took refuge in the...Read More

The Palazzo Publico

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Palazzo Publico on Piazza della Liberta Photo, San Marino, Europe
Quote:
In the "Centro storico" (historic centre of the city), you can't miss the Palazzo Publico and it is well worth a tour of the museum inside. It's believed to have been the site of a palace since very shortly after the republic was founded but, not surprisingly, that building has been repaired on various occasions since then -- the most recent incarnation was begun in 1884 from designs by a Roman architect, Francesco Azzurri, and construction was overseen by master-builder, Reffi, a home-grown San Marino-ian, using stone quarried from the Titano caves by the local stone-cutters. Construction took 10 years and the inauguration took place on 30 September 1894. The Palazzo stands on a square called ...Read More

Musing around the city's churches

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Quote:
There are four main churches to visit whilst mooching around the city and it's worth seeing them all as they're in different styles and date from different periods. Basilica del Santo (incorporating St Peter's church) On the site of one of the first ever Christian monuments in Italy in pre-Romanesque style, Bolognese architect, Antonio Serra, demolished an old parish and started the much larger basilica, retaining only the old bell-tower which dates from about 1600. The new basilica was consecrated in 1855 and Serra gave made it neo-classic in style, with a porch of Corinthian columns. Inside, the basilica has three aisles and seven altars -- to your left, admire the c1600 throne of t...Read More