About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Republic of San Marino

Time changed in the EU last night.  The EU kept the same time change as it has always been, but the US and Canada moved it two weeks earlier.  

We packed up, had breakfast in the hotel, the hit the road to San Marino.  

The spectacular view from our room!  It was a nice hotel, but our room was at the end of a long hallway, away from everyone else!?  

It was about an hour and a half drive to San Marino.  The Republic of San Marino is the oldest republic in the world which still retains its original values of authenticity and identity.  This city-state within the country of Italy is self governing.  It is a democracy governed by two Captains Regent who are elected every 6 months.  

The people of San Marino particularly appreciated what President Abraham Lincoln said when he was declared and honorary citizen.  He wrote, "Despite being small, your State is one of the most honored countries in the whole of history."

The Republic of San Marino is a neutral state with no military force of its own, other than ceremonial guards.  Since 2002 its currency has been the Euro and it has the right to mint its own Euro coins.  The population of San Marino stands at 31,632 as of Dec 2009.  The territory of San Marino encompassed 61 sq km.  

Views from San Marino

The flag of San Marino

First Tower (Guaita)  It is the first tower built in San Marino and dates back to the 6th century.  It was used as a prison until 1975.  

Prison cell graffiti 

Second Tower (Costa).  It is the second tower built in San Marino.  It was erected over the remains of an ancient Roman fortress.  It was built in the 13th century.  It is now the museum of ancient weapons.  

Looking back at the First Tower from the Second Tower

Brandon checks out the the cities down below.

Third Tower (Montale), dates back to the 14th century.  It was erected for defensive purposes and was used as a prison.  

No Break Dancing

Brandon plays Nintendo while we wait for lunch to be served

We had a nice few hours in San Marino.  It was different than we expected.  Many old cities in Italy have 'high end' shopping areas for tourists.  This town surprised us with all the tacky tourist shops and oddity museums.  If it wasn't for the magnificent castles and towers, I wouldn't have been impressed.  

We headed for home late in the afternoon.  It was about a 4 hour drive.  

We have passed this cool suspension bridge many times on A1.  There are two equally interesting suspension bridges on either side, but they were hard to photograph at 140km per hour.  

Autogrill.  This is where you buy gas, snacks or can eat dinner on the Italian toll roads.  The Ciao restaurants are actually fairly good, most of the time.  

The end of the toll road near Milan.  The cash lines are always the longest.  

We had a very nice and relaxing weekend in Ravenna and San Marino and would suggest them to visitors, especially if you like mosaics.  We will spend this next weekend at home, but the one after that is open to explore some new place.  Where, I don't know yet??

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