Location and History, San Marino
This is one of a handful of countries I can honestly say that I've walked across.
Depending on your source, it is either the fourth or fifth smallest independent nation in the world (* - not counting islands). At a total of 61.2 square km (~23 sq mi), it is approximately 1/3 the size of Washington D.C.
Favorite thing: The Palazzo Pubblico arose at the site of the Domus Comunis Magna and it is likely that it was constructed between 1380 and 1392 and has been repaired on various occasions. During the second half of the 800's the Palazzo Vecchio had the aspect of a building of the 600's: on the 17/05/1884 the first stone of the actual palace was put into place, using the architectural designs of the roman Francesco Azzurri; the work was undertaken by the local stone-cutters under the direct supervision of the master builder G. Reffi of S. Marino utilising the stones that had been extracted from the Titano caves. The inauguration took place on the 30/09/1894, the ceremonial speaker was Giosuè Carducci who for the occasion pronounced the now renowned speech on 'perpetual liberty'. The stone face, that is richly decorated with the coat-of-arms of the republics castle, is held up by three ogival arches; the centre is dominated by a polygonal balcony that has two decorated windows at it's sides. Half way between the two windows the Republics coat-of-arms is in proud view. On the left side is situated the elevated bell tower which is a battlement just as is the rest of the castle; the tower recalls the images of S. Agata, S. Marino and S. Leo under which is placed the clock. In the corner, at a mezzanine level there is placed a bronze statue of S. Marino. Under the porch, on the right, you will find a marble bust of the architect Azzurri, sculptured by Giulio Tadolini. Inside however, there opens up a great entrance hall that is rich in coats-of-arms and tombstones, amongst which there is a bust of Carducci, and then the powerful staircase which takes you up to the next floor, to the Room of the 60 seats of the Counsellors, to the Congress and Hearing halls and then to the Voting room where the windows look out upon the square, and finally the spiral staircase that gives access to the balcony and tower.
the oldest republic
San Marino, apparently, is the oldest republic established on our planet. Legend (or history?) has it that it was founded by a Christian stonemason named Marinus on 3 September 301 A.D. It's a very small country, the third smallest in the world, with an area of 61.2 sq km: in this few kilometres there are 9 municipalities: Acquaviva, Borgo Maggiore, Chiesanuova, Domagnano, Faetano, Fiorentino, Monte Giardino, San Marino (the administrative capital) and Serravalle
Photo: detail of the walls surrounding San Marino
Favorite thing: When on the Rimini highway crossing the border from Italy into the Most Serene Republic of San Marino, the first reaction is one of jet lag. Suddenly you are back in suburban America, with shopping malls, neon signs, and electronics and computer stores. From sedate Italian countryside you are suddenly bombarded with multicolored lights and dreary modern architecture. However, just when hope is given up for dead, the malls become fewer in number and finally disappear altogether. Street lights become street lamps and the straight road becomes a twisting, turning almost rural (albeit well paved) moutain road that crosses the city walls and enters the Republic's capital, the town of San Marino. Getting past San Marino's 'neon mile,' both physically and emotionally, may take a few minutes, but it is worth the effort. Once into the city, you are treated to narrow, twisting medieval streets, three castles right out of a fairy tale, a fun cable car ride to the town of Borgo Maggiore below, a classic Roman Catholic basillica and a unique parliament building complete with its own changing of the guard ceremony. Beyond that, there are views! The city of San Marino is scenically perched atop Mount Titano, providing its residents and visitors with stunning vistas of the Sammarines countryside, its charming small towns, and the Italian hills beyond. If nothing else, these views are not to be missed, although the 26 square mile republic, which is divided into 9 districts enchantingly called 'castles,' offers much more.
A bit of general information;
The Republic Of San Marino is a small republic on the slopes of Mount Titano. This is between the Romagna and Marche regions in central Italy. The Republic is surrounded by the Republic of Italy on all sides. It is 61 square kilometres and this makes it the third smallest republic in the world (the Vatican and Monaco being smaller) The republic is crossed by the Marano and Ausa which flow into the Adriatic sea, and by the San Marino which joins the Marecchia river. The republic’s landscape is dominated by a huge central mountain – the Mount Titano which is 739 metres high. In the southeast hills spread out from it and in the northeast is the Romagna plain abd the coast. Mount Titano is crowned by ancient triple fortifications and these can be seen from kilometres away.
Favorite thing: In the early 4th century AD Saint Marinus and a group of Christians settled, according to legend, in the area in order to escape persecution. By the 12th century San Marino had developed into a commune which was ruled by its own laws. This commune was able to stay independent because of its isolation and its mountain fortresses. It was also protected from the Malatesta family (who ruled Rimini) by the Montefeltro family – they ruled Urbino. San Marino even warded off an occupation by Cesare Borgia, and it survived the Renaissance as a relic of the self-governing Italian city-states. Even Napoleon respected the independence of the republic when he invaded Italy and the Congress of Vienna in 1815 recognised its independence. When Italy became a national state San Marino’s independence was confirmed in a series of treaties. One of San Marino’s main sources of income is tourism, others are ceramics, china, food and confectionery products. Tourism though is the greatest growth sector. The capital, San Marino, is high on the western side of Mount Titano. It lies behind one of the fortresses that top the mount and it is surrounded by triple walls. San Marino’s commercial centre, Borgo Maggiore, is situated further down the slope.
A 1700 YEARS OLD, REVOLUTION-FREE REPUBLIC: SAN MARINO AND ITS HISTORY
The ancient paving stones, leading up to the entrance of the GOVERNMENT BUILDING carry no traces of the great historical figures who once passed that way.
And yet the memory still lingers of one of the greatest of them all: NAPOLEON BONAPARTE.
As he passed through, the defenceless citizens trembled with fear.
No obstacles or bullwark existed that had not fallen before him and all they possessed was their LIBERTY.
In the end it was this very liberty which won over the conqueror.
The general's emissaries offered the Captains Regent the chance to enlarge their territory and fill the State Coffers.
No, thank you, was the kind but firm reply. Your friendship is the only thing we truly prize.
There was no pretence or rhetoic in the words of the Regent, ONOFRI, merely prudence and careful consideration of the country's capabilities and limits.
Those limits which, in terms of recognition of sovereignty, SAN MARINO has now extended toward EUROPE.
And a liberal and united EUROPE, with its great parliamenary heart, has discovered in the small Republic one of the oldest custodians of the RIGHTS OF MAN
It is as if SAN MARINO were journeying through eternity to build a future on foundations that go far back in time!
Fondest memory: Just BEING THERE!!
Favorite thing: This map shows the location of San Marino, enclaved by Italia.San Marino lies on the border between the regions Emilia-Romagna and Marche, close to Rimini and the Adriatic coast.