More Italian adventures ….San Marino

In my last part of our Tuscan road trip we departed Parma to head south. It would be fair to say Parma had not lived up to expectations so we decided to leave early and make a detour (on our way to Arrezzo) to take in what is reputed to be the oldest republic (since 301)in the world, San Marino. To add to the oldest, it is also the smallest Republic at 24 sq miles ( the same size as Guernsey) but with half the population of guernsey at 32000. It has a long history of neutrality in political affairs – a sort of Switzerland in Italy, if you likeand like Switzerland its per capita GDP puts it in the top 15 in the world. The historic centre and mount Titano joined the UNESCO world heritage list in 2008.

This was a straightforward 250km journey using the motorways and because the Italian motorway pay device we had on the windscreen worked (unlike the French one!) it was a breeze passing through the barriers.

The Three Towers represented in the flag
Google maps Parma to San Marino

When we arrived in the outskirts of the old city of San Marino, luck played a part, as I spotted an aerial approach, via gondola. ( no, not the Venice type of gondola). The aerial cars link Borgo Maggiore with the City of San Marino.I would recommend using the aerial car since parking closer to the City of San Marino may prove much more limited, and it means you delivered into the centre of things.

If you are small you travel for free! I love the idea that height not age is the criteria for free travel.The chair lift takes you into the heart of the old city. If you want to shop for crossbows ( and why not, though you may have a problem with American Airlines hand luggage) or gorgeous leather goods, you will be in heaven.

Guard of the Rock
Palazzo pubblico
Basilica of San Marino
One of the towers of the Monte Titano

Valley views..
Some outstanding 'graffiti' in the cells of the one-time prison

Children of Beslan memorial
This memorial stops you in your tracks. A screaming, terrified, near naked child- why wouldn’t it? I read the plaque which showed it commemorated the massacre at Beslan in 2004, and while I could remember that atrocity, I remained puzzled as to what the link might be between a tiny Italian independent state and North Ossetia. There have been so many horrific acts of terrorism in the past few decades that I hadn’t remembered just how significant was the siege of School No 1, where Islamic separatists took over 1100 hostages, mainly children. 385 people died and double that number were injured. I had to complete several google searches for a plausible explanation of a link and found that San Marino has a long history of extending a hand of friendship ( ‘reaching out’ I guess you’d call it nowadays) to people in need. Indeed they invited the survivors of the massacre to enjoy vacation time in the state and offered a range of psychological services. The commemorative statue stands as a memorial.

I couldn’t resist planting this lamp post behind my headless maiden.

If you like to look back on the earlier days of my journey you can find them

here Road trip to Tuscany

and hereRoad trip to Tuscany #2

Have a great day and thanks for reading. I love to read you comments.




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Welcome to my blog! After a L O N G break from blogging during which Instagram (vannilla)took over my life, I am returning in a more varied format. Yes, I will bake and have been a Thermomix users from the days before it was cult-like. I'll share the best but I will also include that other hobby in my life, photography from my small island and beyond. If you like what you see, I'd love to hear from you! Anne

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