San Marino

San Marino Travel Blog

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Ray with Sergeant of the Guardia di Rocca
After checking out of the hotel we took a cab to Ancona airport (40 Euro fixed price - I was worried as the taxi from the train station was 8 and the station was close to the hotel) and picked up our rental car,  a nice compact Mercedes sedan that could fit all of us and our two suit cases.

The drive north towards Rimini was easy along the A14 and as we approached the turn off Monte Titano appeared off to the west towering over the country side.

The map from the car rental agency was not detailed enough to show us our way in San Marino and we got lost follow Google map directions.  We should have kept following the main road all the way up the mountain instead of trying to follow the directions as the name of the road changed often and caused confusion.   This is where Michiyo's I-phone saved the day.   She had upgraded her service to cover international calls and a data plan just in case we were lost while driving and a quick look at the map on the phone has us quickly back on track up the mountain side.
View of the Adriatic at lunch


As we started climbing the hill we noticed numbered parking areas and a friendly policewoman told us to continue to parking area #6 for our hotel.  We were lucky as the parking lot was small and full but as soon as we pulled in someone left and we had a place. #6 was just outside a city gate and our hotel turned out to only be a minute's walk away. 

I've read in guidebooks about how San Marino is swarmed by tourists and not worth the visit but we all loved this place.   The castle area is definitely tourist oriented and no one lives there, everyone lives down the hill in the various towns below.  Lot's of shopping with most of the stores selling medieval knights, swords, coat of arms plaques, plus an assortment of knives, air guns, nun-chucks, nija starts, etc, etc.  I guess a lot of the knives and swords are illegal to sell in Italy and folks come here light they go to the Indian reservations in Washington State to pick up their fireworks.
Palazzo del Governo
   Ray had read about the changing of the guard ceremony and that was our first stop, followed by the Museum of Modern Arms.   Even if you are not interested in firearms it's worth popping in and buying your San Marino tourist guide here for your coffee table back home.  The museum sells it at half the price of the souvenir stores.   After lunch we toured the main tower and walked around the town.


It might have helped that we visited in the middle of the week and we were not harassed by tourist crowds.   The main castle area can be seen in a day so there's time for relaxed lunches and dinners enjoying the spectacular views.    Lunch at the Bar La Capanna, good basic pizza and ravioli.
The 2nd Tower
   Great views of Rimini's hinterland and the Adriatic Sea.   Dinner and enjoying the sunset almost next door (Alla Rocca 45) but with views of the countryside to the west at the Domus Coffe Shop.   We were pretty stuffed from all the eating in France and Italy and no one was in the mood for a big dinner.   While Michiyo and I had a drink and enjoyed the sunset the boys went looking for souvenirs.   Michael couldn't find a suitable plaque with a shield and two small swords that he had seen earlier and Ray went looking for a knight figure.








  
Chokk says:
I was there some years ago - and I didn't have that many tourist around me as well. Which is nice!
Posted on: Jul 31, 2010
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Ray with Sergeant of the Guardia d…
Ray with Sergeant of the Guardia …
View of the Adriatic at lunch
View of the Adriatic at lunch
Palazzo del Governo
Palazzo del Governo
The 2nd Tower
The 2nd Tower