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----- San Marino ---------------

I discovered San Marino a small independent country of about 12 miles long while looking at Italy on Google Earth. I had noticed when looking at central Italy in Google Earth this small country completely surrounded by Italy situated between Florence and the Adriatic Sea. As I peered closer, it appeared to be a clean, beautiful country perched on a mountain top. The photos that people had taken were amazing. I was intrigued, and thought that I would love to visit this country in the future.

Finally, I was able to visit this amazing European Microstate. Getting into San Marino takes a little effort as there are no planes, nor trains to get there. You need to take a train to Rimini and then from there, catch a 40 minute bus ride to get up to Mount Titano, the heart of San Marino. The extra effort is totally worth the trip. I was completely amazed and impressed with San Marino. This country is a gem. The old walled city of San Marino is perched on top of Mount Titano with perilous cliffs. Walking from tower to tower, one needs to be careful because one small trip or accident can send you off the 1000' plus cliffs. The views into the Apennine Mountains of Italy and the opposite facing Adriatic Sea are impressive. The country being so high up is either in the cloud layer or above it. We would look down the cloud shrouded cliffs as we sat with sunshine above us.

San Marino although beautiful, rustic and elegant is very strange. Each night at around 8:30 or so, a serious of church bells would ring. Before the bells people could be seen walking the streets and visiting the shops. Within 20 minutes of the bells ringing the place was a ghost town. We were literally almost the only people walking around. It felt as if everyone ran indoors to hide from the coming night. Thoughts like this came to mind as they had a vampire exhibit, 2 museums of torture, automatic rifles for sale, cannabis absinthe and even erotic looking pleasure gardens. It was very strange indeed.

Wandering the streets, passing the small gardens and hidden nooks among the old buildings with terracotta roofs was quite peaceful. I absolutely loved the peacefulness and pleasantness of the people here. Everyone was very friendly and quite helpful. We had many nice conversations with many of the locals. There were just so many positive things to say about this amazing country of San Marino. If you are ever in Italy, do not hesitate to take the extra time and spend a day or two here. You won't regret it.

Looking down to the town below

Old rustic buildings of San Marino

Guaita Castle at night

Cesta Castle perched on the summit

The cloud forest of Monte Titano

Clouds flowing by Cesta Castle

Clouds below our level

Gabe and I at the colorful fountain

Beautiful open hall leading to gardens

Maritza and Edna hanging out

Looking at Italy in the distance

Guaita Castle

Guaita Castle as seen from Cesta

Dense clouds cover Guaita Castle

Sunny panoramic view of Guaita Castle

Perched precariously on the edge

Isaac enjoying the views

A sheer drop from the castle walls

Watchtowers opening to Montale tower

Our first evening in San Marino

Gorgeous gardens and castle walls

Outer wall of the old town

Close-up of the palace

Stationed palace guards

Palace courtyard w/ many tourists

Beautiful pathways run thru San Marino

Thistled plants close-up

Yes, a museum of torture

Montale tower from the woods

Montale tower the smallest of the 3

Montale tower sitting on the clouds

Beautiful panoramas of San Marino

Tree growing right out of Montale tower

Late afternoon in San Marino

Country of San Marino below

Beautiful elegant streets of San Marino

Beautiful winding streets

Yes, you can buy automatic weapons

Woman statue in pleasure garden

Welcome to San Marino

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