17 San Marino sights worth seeing
The proverb “A small gold piece is a dear piece” may well be applied to San Marino, the oldest sovereign state in the world, with an area of only 61 square kilometers. The Republic of San Marino, or as it is poetically called, the Serene Republic of San Marino, is an independent state located in the center of Italy, near the Apennine Mountains, overlooking the Dalmatian coast.
San Marino is the third largest state in Europe after the Vatican and Monaco, but in this tiny country you’ll find everything from forests, ancient fortresses and medieval markets to modern shopping centers and Olympic stadiums. Let’s find out what to see in San Marino, this small but full of wonders country!
Guaita and Cesta Towers
Cesta Tower | Photo: Christoffer Sundby / Flickr.
The two fortress towers, Guaita and Cesta, located atop Mount Titano, are the most famous of all San Marino landmarks. Not just famous, but iconic, because Guaita and Cesta are two of the three towers depicted on the official coat of arms of the country. Guaita, which appeared first, dates back to the 13th century.
You have the opportunity not only to see these fortifications from the outside, but also to go inside. In the Chesta Tower, by the way, there is a museum of ancient weapons. From the tops of the towers one can enjoy stunning views, stretching to the Dalmatian coast on one side and to the nearby Apennines on the other. On top of Mount Titano, near Guaita and Chesta, you will find food and drink stalls as well as souvenir shops.
Address: Seconda Torre, San Marino.
The third famous tower, standing on top of Mount Titano and called Torre del Montale, can be reached by walking along the cliff a little further from Chesta and Guaita. The Tower of Montale, unfortunately, is closed to the public, but a walk along the path that winds around the ridge of Mount Titano to see this majestic structure is still worthwhile. Along the way you will be accompanied by breathtaking views of San Marino, and you are sure to come across some wonderful places to rest with a picnic.
Address: Terza Torre, San Marino.
At the top of Mount Titano.
In addition to the main trail that leads to the tower, there are other hiking trails on Mount Titano that will take you through picturesque and lush forests that provide a great alternative to the crowded city center below.
Along the way, you’ll come across old stone benches that allow you to take a little break while you walk. Because the ridge of the mountain is 750 meters above sea level, the air here is fresh and invigorating. Be prepared for a cooler ride at the top than at the bottom, and don’t forget to pack a jacket to make the hike unforgettable.
Address: Monte Titano, San Marino.
San Marino museums
Torture Museum. | Photo: wikimedia.
San Marino is a small country, but that does not mean that nothing happens here. The cultural life, for example, in these parts is quite rich, and anyone who wants to combine his vacation with visiting exhibitions, will not be disappointed.
San Marino seems to specialize in quaint museums. In addition to the National Museum, there are a number of narrowly focused museums worth visiting during the trip. One of them is the Museum of Torture, which displays various torture devices used throughout the centuries.
A bit creepy, but a very interesting place! If you’re in the mood for something lighter, you can head to the Wax Museum, which has a large collection of wax replicas of famous historical figures from different eras. There is even a Museum of Coins and Stamps for those who want to know more about the history of the currency and postage in San Marino.
Address: Museum of Medieval Criminology and Torture, San Marino.
City of Faetano
Church of St. Paul the Apostle. | Photo: wikimedia.
The town of Faetano is one of the nine communes of San Marino. Before the fifteenth century, when it became part of San Marino, Faetano was part of the neighboring Italian Rimini. It is a quiet neighborhood with a population of just over 1,000 people.
Tourists come here to see the church of St. Paul the Apostle as well as the local quaint town hall. Visitors can spend a whole day in Faetano just strolling through its small streets and enjoying the local tranquil atmosphere, as well as sampling local food and wines from time to time.
Address: Faetano, San Marino.
City of Montegardino
The town of Montegardino | Photo: Daniele Marzocchi / Flickr.
Another of San Marino’s nine communes, Montegardino is known for being essentially a university town: the only university in the country is based here. Montegardino is often described as the most beautiful of all the towns in San Marino.
It has the relaxed and intellectual atmosphere of university towns around the world. You can also enjoy visiting the Montegiardino cafes and tasting the local food and drinks, including the special flat sandwiches called piadins, which are also popular in the neighboring Italian provinces.
Address: Montegiardino, San Marino.
City of Borgo Maggiore
Borgo Maggiore town.| Photo: ermakov / Flickr.
Borgo-Maggiore was once a quiet village, but over time it has grown into a modern city. Today it is one of the largest residential areas of San Marino. Borgo Maggiore is known primarily for its street markets, which are held every Thursday from early morning to 2 pm.
It is said that trading here dates back to the 13th century, so if you come here, know that you are shopping in a place with a rich history.
You used to sell cattle in these markets, but nowadays you’re more likely to find fresh local produce and household items, as well as arts and crafts from around the region. Borgo Maggiore is connected to the city of San Marino, the capital of the country, by a funicular railway, which will allow you to enjoy beautiful views during the ascent.
The address is Borgo Maggiore, San Marino.
The city of Serravalle
The castle of Serravalle | Photo: wikimedia.
Another of San Marino’s commune towns, Serravalle is the largest municipality in the country. This town, lying at the foot of the Apennine Mountains, emerged during the Middle Ages and was originally a small village called “Elm Village”.
The main attractions of Serravalle are the castle of the same name, which is depicted on the coat of arms of the city, as well as the Church of St. Andrew, built in the XIX century. If you are more interested in modern architecture, then pay attention to the Olympic Stadium. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the Olympics. It is just a national stadium used mainly for soccer matches.
Address: Serravalle, San Marino.
Come to Piazza della Liberta (Freedom Square) to experience one of San Marino’s most interesting traditions, the changing of the guard ceremony at the Government Palace.
During the summer months, the guards, dressed in green uniforms and headdresses with red pompoms, alternate every hour during daylight hours.
After enjoying this fascinating spectacle, take a walk down the only street leading from Liberty Square. Along this street you will find many restaurants, cafes and charming stores that sell local handicrafts, including exquisite ceramics.
Address: Piazza della Libertà, Piazza della Libertà, San Marino.
Entrance point to San Marino. | Photo: wikimedia.
The town of Dogana is in the north of the country, close to the border with Rimini, and is therefore used as the main entry and exit point for those who wish to visit San Marino. The name Dogana literally translates as “customs”, although you will not see any border checkpoints here. Buses with tourists going to San Marino usually stop at several shopping centers located in Dogana. There you can buy duty-free goods and souvenirs, including local arts and crafts.
The address is Dogana, San Marino.
Be sure to walk to Palazzo Pergami Belluzzi, home to the National Museum of San Marino, which displays an eclectic collection of Neolithic works, Roman artifacts, and even Egyptian and Byzantine relics.
In addition, this museum displays a variety of works of art dating back to the 17th century, as well as early examples of the currency of San Marino.
In total, the National Museum has over 5,000 beautifully preserved rarities that will introduce you to the history of San Marino and the entire region. Over the years it has been supported by many of Italy’s leading figures in society, from politicians to artists and celebrities, and many of the pieces on display are donations.
Address: Museo di Stato di San Marino, Piazzetta del Titano, San Marino.
San Marino Restaurants
The cuisine of San Marino is, as one would expect, heavily influenced by the traditions of neighboring Italy. Here the same tastes are appreciated and the food is prepared from the same ingredients. The main accent in this small country is made on pasta dishes, seafood, fresh local vegetables, and, of course, wine, which is consumed here in great quantities.
There are, however, some dishes that are unique to this country. For example, Faggioli con le cotiche, a kind of bean and bacon soup perfect for the mild winter months, or Tre Monti cake, a favorite dessert of the San Marino people. Many Italians come to San Marino for two products – wine and local truffles, which are a real delicacy. The city of San Marino is said to have some of the best restaurants in the region.
The address is Ristorante Spingarda, Contrada dei Magazzeni, San Marino.
Palazzo Pubblico. | Photo: Matteo Paciotti / Flickr.
Palazzo Pubblico, i.e. the Public Palace, is easily recognized for its Gothic style and richly decorated facade. Palazzo Pubblico is the official residence of the government of San Marino: all the main government events and ceremonies take place here.
The building was built of stone taken from nearby Mount Titano and dates back to the 1800s. When you get close enough, you’ll notice the crenellated walls and the square clock tower that towers over the main building. Overall, the structure strongly resembles Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
Address: Palazzo Pubblico della Repubblica di San Marino, Contrada del Pianello, San Marino.
Basilica of San Marino
San Marino Basilica. | Photo: Giorgio Minguzzi / Flickr.
It was built on the ruins of a Roman church that had stood on the site since the 4th century. The basilica is primarily known for housing the relics of St. Marin, the patron saint of San Marino. Inside you will see a statue of the saint, seven altars, richly decorated and intricately designed, and exquisite paintings painted by past masters.
Address: Basilica di San Marino – Pieve, Piazzale Domus Plebis, San Marino.
Maranello Rosso Museum (Ferrari Collection)
The Maranello Rosso Museum (Ferrari Collection).
The Ferrari Museum, at the foot of Mount Titano, displays a collection of cars inextricably linked to the names of Enzo Ferrari and Carlo Abart. Here you will see Formula 1 sports cars and cars that belonged to famous people, including the first Ferrari Spyder, which was the property of Marilyn Monroe.
Among the 25 Ferrari cars from 1951 to the present, the most famous one is the 250 GTO Red, which won three world championships. In addition, in this museum you will see rare, unpublished photos and souvenirs and various items directly connected with the history of Formula 1 and with the sporting achievements of Carlo Abart.
Address: Maranello Rosso, Str. Rovereta, 52, 47891, San Marino.
It may seem strange to find a fully restored and furnished farmhouse serving as a museum in a tiny principality that “clings” to the top of a cliff.
But San Marino is very proud of its long agricultural heritage, which means that the appearance of such a museum here is only natural. The main purpose of the Agricultural Museum is to preserve and show visitors some of the traditions and customs of rural life.
To that end, an old house built in the mid-1700s has been restored and furnished to recreate the daily life of farming families in the villages around Mount Titano. Along with farm tools such as sickles and hoes, there are household utensils such as copper pots, coal-heated irons, a loom, a baby cradle, and old rustic furniture.
Address: Consorzio Terra di San Marino – Museo della Civiltà Contadina, Strada di Montecchio, San Marino.
Festiva a li
Jazz festival in the city of Borgo Maggiore.
If you are lucky enough to be in San Marino in July, you will have the opportunity to visit quite interesting events. This is when the famous Borgo Maggiore Jazz Festival takes place, as well as the Adriatic Music Festival.
If you want something a little fancier, visit the Medieval Days festival, a big celebration with old costumes, folk games, arts and crafts and even campfire cooked food. San Marino is proud of its history, and therefore residents of the country are very fond of such medieval festivals.
Top 10 sights of San Marino
In Italy, there is another state in the state besides the Vatican. San Marino is the oldest country in Europe, and almost the smallest in the world. What to see in a city with an area of 7.9 square kilometers? The capital is also called and can only be reached by car, bus from Rimini in Italy or cab. There is no railroad and no airport.
The moderate climate and architectural monuments of the Middle Ages in excellent condition attracts tourists from all over the world. The main beautiful places are concentrated in the capital. There are so many museums here that it seems – for 2-3 inhabitants you can definitely allocate one institution. Let’s find out what sights of San Marino with photos and descriptions will keep you company on your journey!
San Marino sights on the map
The Republic is one of the top 5 smallest states on Earth – the total area is only 60.5 square kilometers. Although surrounded by Italy, the country has been steadfastly guarding its independence since the early Middle Ages. Comfortable weather and mild summers make it possible to relax all year round. Italians love to visit San Marino, which is a big part of all tourists. Interesting history, beautiful nature and a variety of cultural and historical sites in such a small territory is impressive. The map of San Marino with sights in Russian will help to make an itinerary and have an unforgettable vacation!
What to see in and around San Marino in 1, 2, 3 days?
The capital of San Marino is full of interesting places, despite its modest size. In 1 day you can not see all the beauties, but it is worth going to the Museum of Modern Weapons, the Basilica, the Tower of Guaita and Montale. On the 2-3 days you can add a couple more towers, museums, palaces and temples. Let’s get acquainted with the city and find out what the top 10 sights in San Marino will keep you company on your trip.
Monte Titano Mountain
The highest limestone point in the country is 13 km from the Adriatic Sea. Monte Titano has three peaks with towers on them. The first one was built in the 11th century and you can see San Marino in 1 day because there are only three of them – Cesta, Guaita and Montale. The structures are a symbol of the freedom of the state, and since the XIV century they are on the image of the coat of arms. In 2008, the historic quarter of the city and the mountain were included in the UNESCO list. San Marino manages to retain its medieval appearance thanks to Monte Titano – the entire city stands on the mountain.
In fact, the mountain is located in the center, and if you look at a map, its shape looks like a roughly drawn square. To the south of Titano is the village of Murata, 10 km from the coast.
How to get there: you can get to the city by public transport, cab or by car. Buses go from Rimini and Bologna, leaving from the railway stations. By car, take the A14 from Bologna to Ancona, then to the south exit of Rimini, take the SS72 freeway to Rimini and reach San Marino. Or the same route, only starting in Rimini.
The building hosts the most important state meetings, ceremonies and negotiations. The palace was built at the end of the nineteenth century in neo-Gothic style to replace a similar building from the Middle Ages. For the construction they used stone blocks extracted from the caves of Monte Titano. The walls of the facades are decorated with coats of arms that belong to small villages and municipalities.
Inside are the classic interiors of Italian palazzos, statues and busts of famous personages of the country, hundreds of ancient paintings and coats of arms of castles. The best thing to do is to come and watch the changing of the guard. This interesting spectacle takes place every 30 minutes from May to September on a schedule Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm, Saturday from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm, Sunday from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Palazzo Poglico is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm, and in July-September from 8 am to 8 pm. The entrance fee is 9 euros. With a museum card can be cheaper by 2-3 euros.
How to get there: the nearest train is in Rimini, you can get there from any Italian city. Then from Rimini by bus number 72 you can get to Piazzale Marino Calcigini in an hour. From the piazzale walk about 10-15 minutes to the Palace of Government.
Basilica of San Marino
The main Catholic cathedral in the capital, which is dedicated to St. Marino. Wikipedia reports that the temple is a striking representative of the neoclassical style. There are columns on the facades, and you have to walk up stone steps to the entrance. The church is one of the significant sights that every tourist should see in San Marino. The structure was built in the 4th century, but it was destroyed. Only in the XIX century demolished the old building and built a new temple in 12 years.
The treasures of the cathedral are: the regency throne of XVII century, wall paintings of famous artists from Italy, an antique organ, a copy of St. S. Titian and 7 altars. Masses are held on weekends and holidays at 11 am. Admission is free.
How to get there: Piazza Domus Plebs is adjacent to Piazza della Libertà. From Rimini take the Bonelli Bus no. 72 from Piazza Marvelli. Get off at Piazzale Marino Calcigini. The timetable may vary depending on the season.
Museum of Torture
A terrifying institution located in the historic quarter. The collection contains exhibits that were created in the XVI-XX centuries. Visitors can see more than a hundred implements and devices. The most famous pieces are the Iron Maiden, the Spanish Boot, the Inquisitor’s Chair and the Loyalty Belt. All items were used during torture. Some items are unique and are not found anywhere else.
This is important . The feedback from tourists is unanimous – it is better not to come here with children. The weak-kneed are not likely to like it here either. And the rest will tickle the nerves, because each product has a picture and a description. Some exhibits were used in such a way that even the wildest imagination could not think of it.
The museum is open every day from 10 am to 8 pm. The schedule changes slightly in March-November and January – from 10 am to 7 pm only from Friday to Sunday, in December – from 10 am to 7 pm again daily. Adult ticket costs 8 euros, children 4-10 years old 6 euros, groups of 20 or more pay 4 euros per person.
How to get there: from Rimini take bus number 11 Piazza Marvelli or by car along the SS 72. There are only 2 or 3 stops of public transport in San Marino. Orient the Parada autobus Rimini-San Marino, from where the bus goes back to Rimini. The terminus is Piazzale Marino Calcigini near the historic center. From the stop it is a 5-10 minute walk. The museum is 10 m. from St. Francis Gate.
The first of the three fortresses on Monte Titano that all tourists rush to see in a day in San Marino. The structure was built in the X century. The construction is located on the top of the cliff, and around the strong walls with teeth. For a long time the tower has been restored dozens of times. The last restoration was carried out in 1930. On the territory you can see a small chapel of St. Barbara, a well, which was used by residents during the siege and the bell tower.
Bold tourists go to the observation deck on the roof. Although there is a steep staircase to climb and a manhole to pass through, the views are unbelievable. The fortress is open every day. From September 15 to May, it is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In summer, from 8 am to 8 pm. The tower is closed on holidays – December 25 and January 1. Entrance to the territory of the fortress – 4.5 euros.
How to get there: you can get on a tourist bus with a tour, by cab and by bus number 11. The public transport stop is Borgo. Then walk about 5-10 minutes to the staircase near the gate of San Francesco. To the tower leads stairs, a special steam train and cable car. The latter options are for those who have difficulty climbing on foot.
Gallery of Modern Art
In 1956, San Marino opened a museum of modern art. Traveling to different countries, cities and see interesting exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and other products is incredibly entertaining. The first exhibition was a success, so the gallery began to make regular exhibitions. Today, the museum holds works of Italian masters of the last century. In the large collection it is possible to notice the creations of Cristo, Kunz, Guttuso, Montesano, Calli and other famous Italians. A couple of years ago, the museum began to show the works of local artists.
The gallery is open from January to mid-June from 9 am to 5 pm, from the second half of June to mid-September from 8 am to 8 pm. Then until December from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed for holidays – January 1, November 2 and December 25. Admission is only 3 euros.
How to get there: from the nearest Italian town, Rimini, by bus or car. The trip will take from 20 to 50 minutes depending on the transport. All buses from Rimini to San Marino stop near the main historic center – near Piazzale Marino Calcigini. From the stop to the gallery in Via Eugippo you will have to walk 15-20 minutes.
La Cesta Tower
The second tower of the famous “three” that anyone can see around San Marino by car. First you will have to reach the city from Rimini by car and then park at the foot. Then on foot to the top, as it is forbidden to drive cars in the historic center. The first mention of La Cesta in documents is from 1253. In the fourteenth century, the structure became part of the defense complex. It was not until 1924 that the tower was restored and tourists were allowed in. In 1956, the Museum of ancient weapons held an exhibition here, and now they are regularly held.
You can visit the Cesta all year round, but the schedule depends on the season. The peak is in summer – the tower is open from 8 am to 8 pm. In other months you can come from 9 am to 5 pm. You can see the tower from the inside for 3 euros, and 4.50 euros to visit Guaita and La Cesta.
How to get there: the tower is accessed by a serpentine and narrow path to the summit of Monte Titano. The ascent is either on foot or by cable car from Via Eugippo. From the First Tower it is possible to walk along a stone paved road. Tourist and shuttle buses go to the city from Rimini and Bologna about 10 times a day. The journey takes about an hour, stopping in the center at Piazzale Marino Calcigini.
Interesting places in San Marino are mostly concentrated in the center of the capital. Among the museums, an unusual institution stands out, with figures from ancient and modern legends of unclean forces. Wax statues of Countess Bathory, Count Dracula, characters from horror movies, werewolves and ghouls. There is enough of this “goodness” in a vampire museum. The interiors emphasize the theme – red and black colors are everywhere.
It’s interesting. One of the curiosities are portraits that come to life. People in period clothing are displayed on a computer screen that is clad in an old frame. But you forget that when you get closer. The characters start to age, turn into vampires and try to pounce. It’s not particularly scary, but the suddenness can scare an adult.
It’s not hard to find the entrance: There’s a three-meter tall werewolf figure near the museum. The place is open from 12 noon to 11 at night. The ticket costs 15 euros.
How to get there: Take the funicular from Via Eugippo or walk from Freedom Square in 5 minutes.
The last, third tower that you can visit in San Marino in a day after Chesta, does not look as spectacular. The small structure was erected in the 13th century, and was used to watch over the territory. Behind the solid walls, a prison was equipped, and prisoners were thrown into a rock well. In the 16th century Montale was abandoned. It was not until 1935 that they began to carry out restorations. After a long restoration was able to recreate the fortress in virtually pristine condition.
Visits are limited, so tourists can only look at the exterior and the scenery that opens from the high cliff. The ascent is by a narrow path, so it is worth preparing for it.
How to get there: the tower is located next to other fortresses. You have to walk a narrow path to Montale, but first climb the stairs to La Cesta, and walk about 10 minutes deep into the forest. The mountain itself can be climbed on foot or by cable car on Via Eugippo.
Church of San Francesco
The church of St. Francis was founded in 1361. The main relics kept in the church are the tomb of a bishop who lived in the city in the 15th century, a wooden crucifix from the 14th century, frescos and an ancient altar. What is worth visiting in San Marino if you are interested in religious buildings? One of the main temples of San Francesco, which is decorated with paintings by famous Italian artists of the XV-XVI centuries.
The grounds opened the St. Francis Museum and Art Gallery in 1966. Two small halls display works by the Italian master Emilio Ambron from 1930, which the artist personally donated to the museum.
It is possible to visit the church every day. Services are held in the summer on weekdays at 7:45 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., and on weekends at 9 and 11 a.m., then at 6:30 p.m. In the winter, weekdays at 7:45 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., and weekends at 9 and 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Admission is free. A ticket to the museum costs 5 euros.
How to get there: a 5-minute walk from the State Museum in the city center along Via Piana. Buses from Rimini stop near the historic quarter on Piazzale Marino Calcigini. You can also go to San Marino by car. Near the bus stops there are parking lots where you can leave your car. The rest of the city is mostly on foot or by funicular, if you want to get to the sights on Monte Titano.