San Marino

The most serene Republic of San Marino claims to be the world’s oldest surviving republic. Apparently formed in the early 4th Century by St Marinus fleeing the persecutions of Diocletian, it has remained independent ever since.  Marinus started life in Croatia, before becoming  a stonemason in Rimini. He fled to Monte Titano, forming a monastery and church before his death in 366.

It’s an easy day trip from Rimini by bus, and it’s rugged hilltop location can be viewed from miles around.  The state is made up of the capital San Marino, a medieval citadel hugging the cliff top of Monte Titano, and a range of towns and villages. The total population is just over 33,000.

The scene in the main city is like a medieval fairytale – towers and turrets abound!  And the views over the surrounding countryside are simply stunning. 

Sadly we missed the changing of the guard which takes place daily in the 19th Century Palazzo Pubblico.

Have you been to San Marino – what was your favourite part? 

Rimini

Rimini sits in the province of Emilia Romagna on Italy’s north western Adriatic coast. For those of us coming from the UK, it’s an hour and a half away from Bologna Airport. It’s  a seaside city based around the ancient  city of Ariminum, so it has a historic centre.complete with ancient, medieval and more recent buildings.

The town’s administrative centre from medieval times, Piazza Cavour is dominated by the medieval Palazzo Dell’Aregno and a statue of Pope Paul V, reflecting the city’s place in the Papal States.

And ancient heritage (the subject of a future blog) isn’t hard to find either, including the impressive Arch of Augustus.

The town’s railway station divides that historic centre from the seaside area. At the latter,  there are miles and miles of golden beaches. The ‘Bagni’ system makes this a little different from British beaches. While access to the seafront is free, the area further back from the sea has sub-divided into handily-numbered organized spaces, with ombrellini for hire, changing cabins, cafes, playgrounds and all kinds of sports activities.



Meanwhile, an 18th Century lighthouse stands guard over the canal port area,  with its boats, panoramic wheel and fishermen enjoying the view over the city’s marina.

So, much more than a seaside city and lots to explore.