Saturday, July 26, 2014

San Marino

Approaching San Marino we could see its three towers crowning the rock upon which the little independent country lies. That was our first sight of the fortified country of San Marino. San Marino is a country entirely within Italy. I don't know why it didn't become part of Italy in 1861, as there are plenty of signs within the walls saying "Giuseppe Garibaldi was here" (or words to that effect), and Garibaldi was the architect of Italian unification,  but it didn't.  So now it is one of two independent countries within Italy.  The other is, of course, Vatican City.

We hadn't seen any signs for accommodation of any sort between Coriano and San Marino and were starting to get a bit worried. We started to see signs for a Hotel Montana and kept heading towards it. We eventually found it. It was above a bar/restaurant (not that any food was being served). The building looked like it was built in the 60s. It wasn't exciting, but we said we'd take a room if it had a view out over the valley.  Well it did have a lovely view, but what we didn't realise until too late was that the bathroom absolutely stank! But the staff were very friendly and were going out of their way to be helpful, and it was cheap, and it did have a wonderful view, and it was only for one night.

View from our Hotel Room
We had dinner at a restaurant inside the old walls and watched the sun go down over the valley. The meal was very nice (but there was too much of it - we had ordered a special set menu), but the views and the sunset were spectacular.

Mountains surrounding San Marino at dusk

 Last of the daylight - view from our restaurant


San Marino after dark
Next day we walked around the town and went up to one of the three towers. My overwhelming impression of San Marino is that it is full of shops selling all manner of things to the tourists - jewellery, leather goods, knives, guns, medieval weapons and armour.  I suspect it is some kind of tax free haven, and a haven for re-enacters. It was also full of people, even though it was nowhere near peak season.

Medieval helmet...

... knives ...

... and swords.

One of the towers

San Marino Guard
From San Marino we headed off towards Lake Garda.

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