San Marino Travel Blog› entry 10 of 26 › view all entries
June 23rd, 2010 – by: coles
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.
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.
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.
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