The castle, San Marino
This place used for various open air exhibitions, including a traditional crossbow competition. Cava dei Balestrieri is located below down the wall of the first castle La Guaita. The event "Tournament of Castles" a traditional crossbow shooting competition.
The event opens the summer season of Crossbow Federation with one of the most heartfelt performances by the population and brings to the fore one of the most deeply rooted traditions in their culture and history.
This tower is the lowest of the three towers and the most difficult to reach. The tower served as a lookout especially because of its convenient location. While the two towers are open for public but the 3rd tower is not open to visitors. With no way of accessing its upper levels and could only loiter around outside
This tower dates from the 13th century. It is the smallest of the bunch, but the tower with the most important strategic position. Is a prison located in the eight-meter deep basement of the tower. Worth to walk around it, while you also can enjoy the views
“The distance between the cities of Rimini and San Marino is thirteen miles, and the road, though so steep when within a few miles of the mountain as to require the addition of oxen to the carriage, is kept in excellent condition. After a pleasant drive of ten miles through a fertile valley abounding in vineyards and cornfields, the traveller arrives at the northern boundary of the republic. Here a stone formerly bore on one side the initials S. P. (Pontifical States), and on the other R. S. M. (Republic of San Marino), but time has obliterated all traces of the letters.”
— from “The Republic of San Marino” 1880 by Charles Bruc, duca di Busignano
La Cesta, the Second Tower, houses a museum of arms and armor; the collection was acquired by the State between 1956 and 1972. The four-room exhibition traces the development of sidearms and firearms.
“I am a Monarchist in France, but a Republican at San Marino.”
— François-René, Vicomte de Chateaubriand (1768–1848)
The smallest of the towers is the Third Tower, called La Montale; it dates to the end of the 13th century. It has played a strategic role with the best position for a lookout post. This tower stands on the lowest of Monte Titano’s summits. Like its two bigger brothers, this fortress has a pentagonal floor plan; but unlike its two bigger brothers, it is not open to the public. An eight-meter deep prison, called “the bottom of the tower,” is inside. Large rocks surround La Montale, forming a wall-like structure.
“San Marino does not occupy an important place among nations. Catholic in religion, these republicans have ever resisted the temporal rule of Rome. A famous tenet of Venice was ‘We are Venetians, and then Christians.’ San Marino, in staunch loyalty, must have early adopted a similar creed.”
— from “Two Quaint Republics, Andorra and San Marino” by Virginia Wales Johnson
La Cesta, the Second Tower, was built at the end of the 11th century; it, too, too has a pentagonal footprint. La Cesta was home to the Fortification Guards Division; and it was used as a prison with a few cells. The tower lost it strategic importance around the end of the 16th century, and it fell into disuse.
Following the construction of the Rimini-to-San Marino railroad in 1930, San Marino decided to restore and conserve it medieval monuments in an effort to stimulate tourism.
During our visit a periodic light drizzle did fall from the grey sky; it was too insignificant to deter us.
“Government founded on republican principles is capable of being so administered as to be secure and enduring.”
— from the 1861 letter written by President Abraham Lincoln to the government of San Marino after he was granted honorary citizenship
CITIZEN ABE Lincoln signed his letter, ‘your friend.’
La Cesta, the Second Tower, stands on De La Fratta, the highest peak of Mount Titano, 2,477 feet above sea level. This point has served as a lookout since ancient Rome ruled the area. For San Marino, the tower was first mentioned in a 1253 document. La Cesta is halfway between the First Tower and the third.
This tower houses a museum of armor; the collection was acquired by the State between 1956 and 1972. The four-room exhibition traces the development of sidearms and firearms.
Just as we took photos of Tower One from the position of Tower Two; the distance shots of Tower Two were taken from Tower One. Look at that sheer cliff under La Cesta !
The folks in San Marino may have sights that are hundreds of years old but they use 21st-century technology to their advantage. A plastic entry card with a magnetic stripe kept track of our visits to the First Tower and to the Second Tower.
“Upon my word we really must preserve it as a republican specimen.”
— Napoleon I (1769-1821)
PRESERVATIONIST After Napoleon became emperor and the map of Italy was being considered, Ferdinando Marescalchi, the Italian Foreign Affairs Minister, asked him what was to be done with San Marino; the above quote was the Little Corporal’s response. Under Napoleon’s rule the Kingdom of Italy signed a treaty of friendship and commerce with the Republic of San Marino on 10.June.1802.
La Guaita is the first and oldest of the three towers/castles. It was built in the 11th century and sheltered early inhabitants of Mount Titano. The tower served as a watch post and as a prison as recently as 1970. It is one of the oldest surviving fortifications on the Italian peninsula. Since 1930 la Guaita has been opened to the public. Most of these photos were taken from distance of la Cesta, the Second Tower.
It is possible to see the feather-like flag at the top of the tower in photo #3.
“San Marino in this same year, 1347, breathed the pure air of the hills in a spirit of contentment, and was assailed by the most formidable foreign invader that has ever appeared in Europe. The plague landed from Genoese galleys, and appeared in Tuscany, Provence, and the Romagna. Checked by the cold of winter, the malady burst forth with increased violence in the spring.”
— from “Two Quaint Republics, Andorra and San Marino” 1913 by Virginia Wales Johnson (1849-1916)
La Guaita, the First Tower, is built directly on the mountain’s granite rock without a foundation. Its 10th-century base is pentagonal in shape and has been reinforced many times over the centuries. Its present form dates from the second half of the 15th century; the gabled roof was added in the 16th century.
First fort built in the XI century and restored several times. Some of the rooms were used as a prison. To the left of the entrance is the Chapel of the Rocca, dedicated to Saint Barbara.
It's certainly worth a visit!!
To enter, you have to pay an admission ticket.
The Museum displays part of the rich armoury collection acquired by the State between 1956 and 1972.
The exhibition route consists of four rooms and shows the development of “sidearms” and “firearms” with exhibits of great historical value ranging from armours, bills and halberds, wheel-lock, flintlock and fuse firearms to the experimental weapons of the 1800s transition and the breech-loading arms of the late 19th century.
The Second Tower or Cesta stands on the highest point of Mount Titano, 755 meters above sea level. It is situated halfway along a panoramic path from which an impressive and breathtaking landscape can be admired and which, on top of the mountain, connects the three ancient towers of San Marino.
Although restored many times over the years, the donjon, with its pentagonal base, still preserves the characteristics of the medieval towers with embrasures and loopholes.
No longer in use since the 17th century, the fortalice underwent a significant and radical restructuring in 1924-25, which halted its degradation and restored the original aspect.
In 1956 the Tower became the seat of the Museum of Ancient Arms, where 700 exhibits of all types of ancient armours and weapons are now displayed.
The First Tower or Guaita Tower is the oldest of the three towers, and the most famous being depicted on both the national flag and coat of arms of San Marino. It was constructed in the 11th century and served briefly as a prison, and has been restored several times, the last reconstruction occurred around 1930, and after that the fortress had was opened to the public. It used to have a drawbridge but that has long since vanished.
The Bell Tower a very important symbol as during past years its tolls used to call the inhabitants to defend their country every time it was threatened.
Some rooms of this fortress, once hosting the garrisons, were used as prisons from the second half of the 18th century till 1970.
A small altar in the southern tower was once dedicated to St. Barbara, protector of artillerymen. Today’s church, located near the outer walls, on the left of the entrance to the tower, was built only in 1960.
San Marino has some interesting ancient fortresses on the peak of Mount Titano, overlooking the city. La Rocca, also known as the Guaita or First Tower, dates back to the 11th century, when it was carved out of the mountain and became an important guard tower in the citys defence. The highest of the three towers is the Cesta (Second Tower), which contains the San Marino Museum of Antique Weapons and dates back to the 13th century. The final tower, Montale (Third Tower), was also built in the 13th century and like La Rocca and Cesta, it became a prison in later years. La Rocca is the most impressive of the three towers, with a stunning bell tower and glorious views of the city and coastline from its top.
There are 8 more places in this country, the famous San Marino Castles: Acquaviva, Borgo Maggiore, Chiesanuova, Domagnano, Faetano, Fiorentino, Montegiardino and Serravalle. They are scattered on the surrounding hills and valleys.
Rocca Montale is the third and smallest tower at the eastern side of Monte Titano. Like the second tower, it was built in the 13th century. During a conflict with the Malatesta of Rimini, it played an important role. The tower is in a bad shape and not open for public. You can admire this pentagonal building from outside and enjoy the view from its base.