Discovering the world’s oldest Republic: San Marino
I just came back from my first trip of the year: San Marino. There is so much to tell about this small and charming place located in the middle of Italy, that I will just begin from the beginning. Shall we?
As I live in Munich, I drove by car with my husband. It took us around 10 hours until we arrived in San Marino, because we decided to make a two-hours stop in Romeo & Juliet’s land, Verona. It allowed us to take a quick look at Juliet’s balcony and have an amazing lunch at a restaurant called Osteria “Le Vecete”. You can’t miss their Risotto all’Amarone and the chocolate salami they serve for dessert.
Now back to San Marino. You notice how special this place is as soon as you start driving through very tight roads making zigzags all the way up. When you see the Monte Titano and its three towers (Guaita, Montale and Cesta) from below, you will never believe you are able to reach the top by car. Fortunately our car is a Mini Cooper, which made it easier for us.
We decided to stay 2 nights and 2 days in San Marino. Some would say 1 day would be enough, but I find it the perfect length for those who enjoy walking around and exploring every single corner and breathtaking views of a place like this. Sadly, on our first day it was very windy and rained for a while, even so we took a long walk up to the three towers with our dog (yes, we brought Enzzo, our Golden Retriever along), took a few pictures and decided to go wine shopping around the tiny streets and come back the following day to enter the towers.
We stayed at the Titano Hotel, which has an amazing location: right in the middle of the Centro Storico and only a few meters of the three towers by foot, surrounded by local little shops and restaurants. Some rooms of the hotel offer amazing views, however we were not so lucky, since our room was on the -1 floor and we only had the street view, which I cannot complain about since it is charming as it is.
But we had our chance to enjoy the best view from our hotel, which was from its restaurant, called La Terrazza. We had lunch on a Easter Sunday, which meant that it was completely full. We were lucky that they had a table on their small terrace, but only because it was not one of the warmest days and everyone wanted to be inside. We didn’t really care about siting outside; it couldn’t be colder than Munich for the past days. Unfortunately as the restaurant was full, the waiters kind of forgot about us for a while, but apart from that we enjoyed the moment and slowly sipped a tasty local wine.
We also had the opportunity to eat at a little, cosy and delicious local restaurant called Cantina di Bacco. I had a 3-course menu, which included two plates and a dessert. The interesting detail about this menu was that both plates came with 3 different options, kind of a food tasting. I loved the idea because every time I go to a restaurant I have trouble on choosing what I want to eat; this time, deciding was not a problem at all.
On our second day the shy sun decided to appear and the city looked totally different. We enjoyed the time to have some ice cream watching passers-by and visited each one of the towers, a must do while in San Marino.
We noticed how the city is packed during the day and totally empty at night. This is due to tourists who come only to spend the day. At night we just walked around with Enzzo letting him off the leash since we were the only ones walking through the tiny streets.
Our stay was short but enough to discover San Marino. We had a great time and brought remarkable memories back home together with a few bottles of the local wines. This city will always be a special place for me, as it was where I created this blog.
1. If you are a runner and would like run in the morning when you wake up in San Marino: you can try, but you will have to walk up a lot of hills.
2. If you are a wine lover like I am, you can’t miss the local Sammarinese wines: Sangiovese, Brugnetto and Tessano. If you have the opportunity to go to a supermarket, the wines are cheaper than on the small shops. For example, a bottle of Brugneto on the shops vary between 6,90 – 9,90 EUR – but you can bargain – and at the supermarket it costs you 6,50 EUR.
3. Walking with a dog in San Marino is fun, especially because they are welcomed in most restaurants and shops and even on the Guaita Tower. The only problem is finding a little bush around the city where they can go to the loo if you know what I mean.
4. Our hotel gave us two cards, which gave us access to 8 attractions in the city for half the price. If you are staying in San Marino try and get this cards with your hotel too.
5. On the shops you can find wine, original famous brands of clothes and bags for a great price, bikinis, collectible vintage mini cars and much more.
Where to eat:
In general the food in San Marino is great, so I believe you won’t have problem finding a restaurant. My favorite was Cantina di Bacco. But I also ate at:
- The view: you can definitely see the sea from the top if it is not a foggy day
- The old houses and the towers, which were built in the 1200’s
- The way the city is built around the mountain
- Cheap city: we were expecting something like Monaco