The world’s oldest constitutional republic La Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino (The Most Serene Republic of San Marino), established in AD 301, is the world’s fifth smallest sovereign state. San Marino attracts tourists to its wide range of historical sites.
San Marino is an enclave state surrounded by Italy which maintained independence during the unification of Italy. Its founder, St Marinus, was a refugee who fled present Croatia from the persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor Diocletian. Covered with the Apennines mountain range, the country’s terrain is rugged, with Mount Titano dominating the landscape. The country is divided into nine communes known as castelli and the City of San Marino serves as its capital city. The official language of San Marino is Italian, and though the country is not a member of European Union, the Euro is used as its currency.
The best known landmark of San Marino are the Three Towers, overlooking the country on the peaks of Mount Titano. The 11th-century Guaita Tower is the oldest tower, while the Cesta and Montale towers equal the Guaita Tower in beauty and scenic location. The most impressive historical sites of the country include the Basilica of St Marinus and St Peter’s Church, as well as the Palazzo Pubblico, where the changing of the Uniformed Guards of the Fortress is conducted, every half hour from 8.30 am until 6.30 pm in the summer months. The State Museum of San Marino, the National Gallery of Modern Art and the Museo Pinacoteca San Francesco are also popular venues, while the City of San Marino is an ideal place for simply strolling down picturesque narrow streets inside the walled city.
The major market town of San Marino, Borgo Maggiore, features the Coin Museum and a funicular railway which carries tourists to the top of Mount Titano, as well as to San Marino City. The Malatesta and Serravalle Castles are other places of interest in San Marino, as well as the fort of Pennarossa, while the Valdragone subdivision showcases an impressive church and convent.
The closest airport to San Marino is in Rimini, Italy, 25 kilometres away. From Rimini, San Marino can be reached only by motorway. Other nearest airports are located in Ancona and Bologna. San Marino’s economy is mainly based on tourism, which covers half of its GDP. The country is also an ideal starting point to explore the neighbouring regions of Italy, including the nearest region of Emilia Romagna.