The tiny republic punches well above its weight when it comes to castles, quirk and epic views. With this guide, you can plan a trip to San Marino that's sure to make your jaw drop!
The towers on top of Monte Titano, which are proudly featured on the flag of San Marino, are a must-see. Rocca Guaita and Cesta are both open to visitors, while the third tower, Montale, isn't accessible.
1. Basilica di San Marino
The Basilica di San Marino is the country’s highest church and a must see for anyone visiting the tiny Apennine republic. Its neoclassical architecture was designed by the Bolognese architect Achille Serra in 1826.
Its main altar is adorned with a statue of St. Marino, whose relics were discovered in 1586. The statue was created by Adamo Tadolini, a student of Antonio Canova, and a small urn holds the relics beneath it.
Inside the basilica there is a crypt which contains two niches cut into rock, known as the beds of San Marino and San Leo. According to local tradition, these beds have thaumaturgical (miracle inducing) qualities.
Another must-visit in the capital is the national museum that’s brimming with quirky exhibitions from Neolithic pieces, to Roman artefacts and curious Egyptian and Byzantine historical works. A walk through the palace hosting this venue is a great way to learn more about the region’s history and it’s worth taking some time to explore its different exhibitions.
2. Chiesa di San Pietro
The Chiesa di San Pietro is the church that houses the tomb of Saint Peter, the first pope of the Catholic Church. It was originally built where the ancient Circus of Nero stood, where San Pietro was crucified in 67 AD.
A highlight of the Basilica di San Pietro is its soaring architecture. Its symmetrical symmetry makes it one of the most beautiful religious buildings in Rome.
There are many different types of monuments within the Basilica, but the most famous is the gilded bronze tomb of Pope Pius VII in the Clementine Chapel, made by Bertel Thorvaldsen; the funeral stele known as Monumento Stuart, by Antonio Canova; and the tombs of Urbano VIII and Clemente XIII, both of which were designed by Bernini.
The basilica also has a relic of chains that bound Saint Peter when he was imprisoned in Jerusalem. This relic was received by the Empress Eudoxia in 432-440, and is housed inside the basilica today.
3. Cesta Tower
If you want to explore a tiny country that punches above its weight when it comes to castles, quirk and epic views, then San Marino is the place for you. Located in Italys north-eastern region, this micro-country is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with plenty of things to do.
- The capital city of San Marino is built on Mount Titano, which is home to three medieval towers that form part of the Republics flag: Guaita, Cesta and Montale.
- These towers, which are known as the First, Second and Third Towers of San Marino, represent the defense of freedom and liberty. The two towers that are open to visitors, Guaita and Cesta, are located at the top of Mount Titano, offering breathtaking views over San Marino and Italy.
- The third and smallest tower, Montale, is inaccessible to the public but still offers beautiful views from its perch on the mountain. It was originally used as a watchtower during wars against the Malatesta family, which would eventually annexe the territory of San Marino in the XV century.
4. Palazzo Pubblico
The Palazzo Pubblico is San Marino's seat of government and parliament. Located in the historic heart of San Marino on Monte Titano, it was designed and inaugurated in 1894.
It's a building that's worth a look for its impressive features and rich history. Inside, you'll find trophies and inscriptions, a great hall where the Grand and General Council meets, and a bronze statue of the national saint Marinus.
Getting to the Palace is easy with San Marino's funivia (cable car). From Borgo Maggiore, it takes around two minutes and you can enjoy amazing views over the city as you ride up.
It's also home to the Museo di Stato, a collection of Neolithic finds and Roman artefacts that you won't want to miss. It's a must-see on any trip to San Marino and is one of the best museums you can visit in this small micro-state.