Only 61 square metres in size, the Republic of San Marino is the world's oldest sovereign state, that dates to the fourth century AD and it is one of the smallest states on earth. It lies in the centre of Italy, near the Adriatic coast, between the borders of the Emilia-Romagna and Marche regions. The republic consists of several small towns. City of San Marino, the capital, rests on Mount Titano, the highest point of this hilly area. In 2008, UNESCO’s Committee included the old towns of San Marino and Borgo Maggiore and the nearby Mount Titano in the prestigious List of World Heritage Sites.
The most fascinating attractions of San Marino are its defensive towers, the Guaita, the Cesta, and the Montale. From each tower there are splendid views of the Apennines, the coastal plain, Rimini, and the sea that reaches the Dalmatian coast. Walking in the old town it seems like you are going
back to the Middle Ages: closed to traffic, the city maintains its bastions, walls and gate. There are many historical buildings, such as the Basilica di San Marino, dedicated to Saint Marinus, according to the tradition the founder and patron of the Republic, and the Palazzo Pubblico, the town hall of the City. In fact, San Marino is very proud of its independent status: it has its own government and military force. Right in front of the government house, in Piazza della Libertà, it is possible to see the changing of the guard that occurs about every half hour during business hours in the months from April to September. Do not miss this traditional ceremony: the Guardie di Rocca, the republic's militia, wear colourful uniforms with a dark green double-breasted jacket, a white braid, red trousers with a green stripe, hats with red pompoms, and white gaiters.
San Marino boasts a wide range of museums, such as the State Museum that houses a large collection of paintings, coins and archeological objects, the Museum of Ancient Arms, the Wax Museum, the Museum of Curious Objects, replete with the unique and odd items, and the Ferrari Museum, a paradise for car lovers.
San Marino is a must-see for shopping addicts of all kinds. In the historical centre you can find local and traditional products, like hand-painted ceramic ware and art objects in iron, wood and precious materials. Outside the old town centre, instead, there are shopping centres and outlets, where you can buy many products at a bargain price, due to a lighter lever tax.
In San Marino there are many small family-owned restaurants, where you can enjoy tasty traditional products, such as piadina and cappelletti, and fine wines, Brugneto and Roncale. Not to be missed among the desserts are also the famous and delicious Tre Monti and Titano cakes, handmade in San Marino since 1942.
There are also a lot of things to do in the outskirts. Enjoy the beautiful Italian cities, such as Rimini, Bologna and Florence that are easily reached from the Republic and if you love nature, you can enjoy the paths in the tiny countryside. Finally, if you like Formula One, do not miss the San Marino Grand Prix!
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