San Marino


In the self-proclaimed oldest country in the world


The starting point for this trip was Padua, the city where I did Erasmus and which served as a base for several trips through central Europe.

Located on the Adriatic, Rimini is one of the favorite holiday destinations for Italians and was a mandatory stop on the way to San Marino.

We left Padua very early and took 2 regional trains to get to Rimini (there is an option to change trains in Bologna or Ferrara, the first option being more usual) and it took us about 3h30 min, with a cost of 16.35€. The route is the same for those coming from Verona or Venice, with variable values depending on the starting point. For those coming from Milan, although the line is different, the solutions are identical, the train can be direct or with a stop in Bologna. There is also the option of taking a Frecciarossa or Italo train, the Italian high-speed trains, which are substantially more expensive, but at certain times of the day they avoid having to change trains. On the other hand, there is also the option of taking a bus, Flixbus or Itabus, which are sometimes the most economical, if purchased in advance.

Arriving in Rimini, we took the opportunity to walk a little along the bank of the Marecchia River towards the sea while we had time to take the bus straight to Monte Titano. When the time came, we went to the queue to enter. There were 2 buses that left more or less at the same time, both quite full. We bought the ticket at the bus entrance, for €12 per person (you can also buy it online).

San Marino

Founded in 301 AD, the nation of San Marino claims to be the oldest country in the world! It is located in the Apennines and is an enclave surrounded by Italy.

Marino, who at the time was working as a mason, left Rab (at the time a Roman colony in Dalmatia) in 257 AD when the future Emperor Diocletian issued a decree requesting the rebuilding of the walls of the city of Ariminium (present-day Rimini), as they had been destroyed by Liburnian pirates. Upon arriving in Ariminium, he realized that Christians were persecuted there and had been sentenced to forced labor by the Roman emperor for refusing to renounce their religion and adopt their Gods. Later, Marino was ordained a deacon by Bishop Gaudencio de Arímino, for his accomplishments in helping Christians. When he was old enough, legend has it, he retired to the woods surrounding Ariminium and climbed Mount Titano, where he ended up creating the country, in the year 301 AD, which we now know as San Marino, a place where Christians could take refuge from Roman persecution.

After about an hour we finally arrived at Monte Titano. San Marino is made up of 9 municipalities (Castelli), but the capital and the place of greatest interest is the city of San Marino, located on top of Monte Titano at an altitude of 749 meters at its highest point (Pico della Rocca).

Today, walking through the streets of San Marino is like stepping back in time and stepping into another era. Here you can breathe history. All corners have construction details that take us back to distant times. How many stories will they keep? 😮

Basilica of San Marino

Going up its streets we arrive at Piazzale Domus Plebis, where the Basilica of San Marino is located. The conclusion of its construction dates back to 1838, having been built over a church from much earlier times.

Liberty Square and historic streets

Walking through the streets that lead to Liberty Square, we pass by a viewpoint with a splendid view. Along the way, there are some shops and terraces full of tourists. Next to Liberty Square is the Public Palace or Government Palace, where official ceremonies in San Marino are held. This palace was built between 1884 and 1894, on the same site where there was another palace, the Domus Magna Comunis, dating from 1380-1392, which was destroyed for the construction of a more modern palace.

The 3 Towers of San Marino

Continuing up, we passed by more esplanades next to very high cliffs, with landscapes as far as the eye can see, before finally reaching the first tower, Guaita Tower.

San Marino has 3 famous towers, the Guaita Tower, the Cesta Tower, and the Montale Tower. The three Towers are the symbol of the three "feathers" of San Marino, represented in countless places as defenders of the freedom of the Republic.

The first tower, Guaita Tower, a word that means guard and which still enters the vocabulary of the locals, is the oldest of the 3, dating from the 11th century, and is believed to have served as a refuge for the inhabitants of San Marino. It will also have served as a prison and will have been rebuilt numerous times during its history.

The second tower, Cesta Tower, or Fratta, is located on the highest point of Mount Titano and has a museum in honor of Marino. Cesta Tower, which was built in the 13th century on the ruins of an ancient Roman fort, is connected to the Guaita Tower by the "Witches' Passage", and housed the division of guards, as well as some prison cells. On days of high visibility, it is sometimes possible to see the Dinaric Alps, the highest mountain range in Croatia, which is about 250 km away. Unfortunately, when I visited San Marino, this tower was closed for restoration, so I could only admire its exterior.

The third tower, the Montale Tower, was built in the 14th century and is believed to have been built to protect against the growing power of the Malatesta family in the region, who fought hard battles with the inhabitants of San Marino. It also served as a prison, with the only entrance to the tower being a door located 7 meters above ground level, which is why it is not open to the public. Located in the center of the forest and slightly away from the city center, this tower is the best observation position.

Walking along the "witches' passage" and then through the forest that connects the second tower to the third tower allowed us to contemplate unforgettable landscapes. 


Later we returned to the "witches' passage" to contemplate the sunset. If it wasn't the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, it would certainly be in the TOP 3. The bright colors of the sky in contrast with the green vegetation and the lighting of the towers were something that we never will forget. Most tourists who visit San Marino choose not to stay overnight, so they end up not enjoying this natural "painting".

Sunset in the city

As in the "witches' passage", the colors of the sunset fit perfectly on the city streets, giving it an enigmatic atmosphere, at a time when they are completely deserted.

The hotel

We stayed overnight at the Joli Hotel, a modern 3-star hotel located close to the city center. The room was comfortable, with a wonderful view. Breakfast was not the most varied, but it was more than enough to gain energy for the day ahead.


Fascinated by the sunset, we decided to get up early and climb to the top of Monte Titano again in search of bright colors in the sky. Like the sunset, the sunrise was also magnificent.

Guaita Tower

Also known as Rocca, the interior of the Guaita Tower was the last attraction we visited in San Marino, before taking the bus back to Rimini. Once again, we were presented with absolutely incredible views and details.

In conclusion, San Marino is an enigmatic place, full of history in every corner, offering breathtaking landscapes to those who visit it. It is a place I hope to visit again.