8 Reasons to Visit the Country of San Marino

February 03, 2014

The Most Serene Republic of San Marino is a must-see destination for lovers of history – and for those who love picturesque panoramas. One of the world’s smallest and oldest republics, San Marino isn’t, technically, Italy. But it is surrounded by Italy’s Emilia-Romagna and Le Marche regions near the Adriatic Sea, making it an easy day trip from cities like Florence or Bologna.

Map of San Marino. The total size of the country is 24 sq miles!

Map of San Marino. The total size of the country is 24 sq miles!

Here are 8 reasons why you should visit San Marino!

  1. Founded in the 4th century AD, San Marino prides itself on being one of the world’s smallest, oldest independent states. The country is tiny, with a total population of around 30,000 people ( the city of Rome has more than 2,600,000!) and is home to UNESCO world heritage sites like Mount Titano (San Marino’s highest point), San Marino City and Borgo Maggiore.
  2. Whether as a day trip or weekend getaway, San Marino is easily reached from central Italian cities like Rimini (30 mins), Bologna (1.5 hours) and Florence (2.5 hours) by bus or rental car.
  3. Like its name,  “Most Serene Republic of San Marino,” implies, the tiny country is a green oasis—the perfect place to relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings. Complete with unspoiled land, rolling hills, wineries and fortresses, San Marino is a great (and less crowded) alternative to the Tuscan countryside. On a clear day, you can even steal a view of the nearby Riviera Romagnola beaches!
  4. Looking for a deal on Italian brands or a great souvenir to bring home? Head to San Marino for tax-free shopping! Despite its tiny size, the country boasts hundreds of chic shops and boutiques, malls (Atlante and Azzurro) and outlets (San Marino Factory Outlet and Queen Outlet) with a wide range of electronics and clothing for men, women and children.
  5. The San Marino cuisine is simple and delicious, with flavors from neighboring regions mixed with local herbs and ingredients. Look for faggioli con le cotiche (bean and bacon soup) rabbit stew and torta tre monti (chocolate and hazelnut layer cake). Make your meal complete with delicious local wine and tilus, a truffle infused after-dinner liquor.
  6. Hopping over from Italy to San Marino is quite easy: There is no border control, so you don’t need your passport to enter… but you can ask for a stamp in the tourist department as a souvenir! The local currency is the Euro and the official language is Italian, although most shops and restaurants speak English (check out our most useful Italian words and phrases for travelers as as a handy guide!).
  7. San Marino boasts a wide range of museums… from traditional paintings to more quirky collections! Highlights include the State Museum (large collection of paintings, coins and archeological objects), San Francesco Museum (16th century paintings), Museum of Ancient Arms, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Wax Museum, Museum of Curious Objects and the Ferrari and Abarth Museum.
  8. As an independent state, San Marino has its own military—one of the smallest in the world! The fascinating tradition of the changing of the guard is kept from April to September, every half hour from 8am to 6pm at the Palazzo Pubblico
Ancient castle on the hill in San Marino

Ancient castle on the hill in San Marino


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18 responses to “8 Reasons to Visit the Country of San Marino”

  1. When visiting the Republic of San Marino one can experience the feelings of going back to Medieval times, yet the country and citizens are very modern.
    The historical district and the various Castelli have many old monuments and buildings.

    Taking a walk up the Rupe (from Borgo Maggiore to Citta`) is an exciting brief journey “back in
    Go to the summit, you will not be disappointed!

    Did you know Abraham Lincoln was an honorary citizen of this tiny Nation?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      We had the same impression of San Marino, Gloria. Thank you for sharing your experience and interesting facts about the Republic!

  2. marino pazzini says:

    I was born in San Marino back in 1948..Came to America in 1958,San Marino as always been in my heart..we visit there now and then,but never enough..when ever we arrive in San Marino
    I just get the greatest feeling to say that I’m part of this beautiful land scape…
    This little country as so much to offer. The shops are so beautiful with all the different souvenirs. and most of all the people are so nice and beautiful…

  3. Ulysses says:

    Do you guys have any tour from Rome? let me know, [email protected]

  4. This is fantastic! I’ve only been living in this place for a year, and have yet to go to Hotel good to know its free to travel residents on those days!

  5. Kevin Rayan says:

    Do you guys do a day trip to San Marino from Bologna? or Venice? If not do trains go to San Marino?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Kevin,

      Unfortunately we don’t currently run tours in San Marino. To get there you can take a train to Rimini from Venice, Milan or Bologna, and from there you’ll take a bus into San Marino. It’s about a 40 minute bus ride.

  6. JAN & BRYAN SPROULE says:

    Great experience! Purchased a miniature Vespa there and posted some postcards to friends. So historic! Would love to go back!! Our visit was too short because we were in a bus tour, but so grateful we got to experience the adventure. So unique!

  7. Karin Lenca says:

    Part of my honeymoon, some 50 years ago
    A trip I have never forgot
    Everyone should go

  8. sunkay says:

    Good day Jan and Bryan, I would love to visit San Marino as a tourism and I don’t know any hotel suitable for tourist. Which is cheap and affordable. Sunkay from Nigeria

  9. eiliyah says:

    I’m looking to holiday in San Marino this year so this blog is helpful.

  10. yes, we’ve visited it in May with our baby, loved it!

  11. Caroline says:

    I’ve been to Italy a couple times and loved it. Would love to return to this beautiful country. I have friends who travel to San Marino. Mother/daughter – the mother is from San Marino and these two were telling me about the country. I have been to Venice and other parts of Italy.

  12. Mary Munley Borthwick says:

    Sounds interesting looking to future trip. Your information will be helpful.

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