Day 326: San MarinoJanuary 6, 2018 in San Marino ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C
First new country in a long time! Up and out fairly early, driving south-west for an hour or so to the micro-nation of San Marino. And this is genuinely a micro-nation, with only 30,000 residents and a very small area of territory. It claims to be the oldest nation on earth, with its roots in the 1300s and has been self-governed almost the entirety of that time - never by an external power. This is why they never joined the Kingdom of Italy when it was established in the 1860s, as they didn't want to be ruled by a foreign sovereign!
The eponymous town is actually tiny, a small village really, clinging to the side of a cliff and watched over by a three-towered fortress. It's this central area that's on the world heritage list, so we drove in about as close as possible, paid for parking and then set off on a walk.
The town is basically on the edge of a cliff, so we walked along the rim past each of the three towers. Impressive sights, especially since they looked rather precarious, but we didn't go inside the lower two as they were occupied with paid museums and we weren't super interested. Had a wander around and then a spot of lunch at a restaurant right on the edge (prices surprisingly reasonable since it's basically Italian prices minus taxes), then wandered around the rest of the town.
It's extremely small, we spent about 90 minutes wandering and had fairly exhaustively covered every street and point of interest. There was the option as well of descending via cable car to the town below which is far more populated, but we'd had enough for the day and headed back to the car. Lots of gun shops around as well, since they take their freedom very seriously.
Plenty of time to ponder on the drive back to our apartment at Gradara. It was an interesting place to visit I guess, but probably a bit underwhelming. It's not like Italy has a shortage of medieval hilltop fortress towns, so it's probably the micronation status more than anything else that put it on the WH list. Oh well!
Stayed in again tonight, more pasta naturally!Read more