First and foremost: San Marino is not actually in Italy, but is its own country. It happens to be the oldest sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world, having started out in the year 301.
But look a little more closely: notice the postage stamps and collectors coins, the license plates, and the country's unique flag. Visit the castles to get a sense of the country's long history and you'll realize you're visiting a place with a unique legacy.
Bring comfortable walking shoes and lots of energy, and walk up to the hilltop castles on the three peaks of Mount Titano, to soak up the history and fabulous views. The photo is of the first tower, called Rocca or Guaita. Watch the brief changing of the guard in Piazza della Libertà, and explore the small streets.
For some local flavor, sample the chocolatey "three towers" cake, locally-made cheese, or wine: the red Sangiovese, or the white Biancale.
Answer: San Marino had given refuge to people persecuted for their support of the unification, so when it asked to not be included into the Italian state, Garibaldi obliged.
- population: 30,000
- size: 61 square kilometers
- 3 million visitors a year
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