During our time in Bologna we decided to make a day trip to San Marino.
The fifth smallest country in the world and third smallest in Europe, behind Vatican City and Monaco, San Marino’s history dates back to 301 AD when a stonemason named Marinus founded a monastic community on Monte Titano.
Its constitution, a series of six books written in Latin in the late 16th century, are considered to be the earliest written governing documents still in use today. Making San Marino the oldest surviving sovereign state, as well as the oldest constitutional republic.
Most amazing, how San Marino remained independent during Italy’s unification process: The country served as a refuge for those who were persecuted because of their support for unification and because of this, they were allowed to remain a separate nation!
Now, despite all this “separateness,” they use the euro as their currency – even though they’re not a part of the European Union. Which made it really convenient for us to pop on up (literally, Monte Titano is 2,457 feet above sea level) for the day.
Our first leg of the journey required hopping a train in Bologna to get us to the Italian city of Rimini. From there we had to take the one (you read that right, one) bus that travels from Rimini to San Marino twelve times each day.
20 euros later (for two round-trip bus tickets) and we were on our way to San Marino City.
We arrived just after noon, which meant our first stop (because visa aren’t required and you don’t even need to bring your passport to get into the country) was lunch. We ate at La Terrazza. Not only was their fresh, locally-sourced bread incredible, but it also paired nicely with the local white San Marino wine we tried.
The best part, however, was a tie between the absolutely stunning views of the valley below and the homemade tagliatelle (of course!) with stridoli (wild herbs), fossa cheese (matured in underground caves), and seasonal black truffle. If it didn’t take hours to get to and from San Marino, I would have happily eaten there again!
Another bonus of eating at La Terrazza was their gorgeous view of Liberty Square, home to their own Statue of Liberty. We went to the square afterward for a closer look, but honestly, it was nice sitting peacefully and eyeing it up over lunch.
As we walked along, we discovered that the city was putting the finishing touches on their Medieval Days Festival that was literally beginning the next day. Having later looked up the festival online, I can now say that we went on the best possible day. The city was already set up, but we avoided the copious amounts of medieval dress, not to mention huge crowds, that would have begun the following day.
The falconry field was already functioning and the UNESCO-recognized historic center was decorated with old talismans from a bygone age. Everything from bicycles to airplanes to record players were on display.