So last weekend I was lucky enough to not only stuff myself with chocolate, but also to visit a beautiful hilltop village called San Marino, which just so happens to also be its own country. It was this little badge of honor that drew me to San Marino, as well as the fact that it’s supposedly near the ocean. Well, I can bust that little rumor right here. It might be near the ocean, but it’s nowhere close to it. However, it is still beautiful… and still its own country!

Taking on a second daytrip in one weekend was a little much, having been to the chocolate festival the day before and I’ll be sure to keep that in mind for the future! The exhausting thing about day trips is the travel, and and San Marino is several hours (about three, three and a half) away from Florence by bus. Actually, it’s quite close to Rimini, which as you’ll recall I was there a few weeks ago, but just didn’t have the time with being at a conference to go over and explore the way I would really want to. So I signed up for an AEGEE (foreign student association) day trip that was a bargain and included transport and optional tours.

The tours were a big help for someone who hadn’t been to San Marino before, but the old town is really relatively small and easily maneuvered. There are other regions of the small state, but we stuck mainly to the old town since we had a limited amount of time to explore. The morning was dedicated to exploring the towers, old medieval ones that stood guard for the country at one time or another. What they neglected to tell us, however, is that the most direct route to the towers from the bus parking lot is through the woods. And up. And up. And so here we have little old me, in a dress and flats, literally TREKKING through the woods in order to reach the towers. Yes… and here we have one of those travel moments that is amusing in hindsight. Below is the view of the first tower we reached (and boy, were we glad when we got there).

Tower of San Marino

The view from the top was quite impressive!

View from hilltop san marino

If you squint and look towards the middle of the photo, you can see the strip of blue that is the ocean.

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There are three towers along the edge of the area and this is the AMAZING view of the third one. It reminds me of the Great Wall of China!

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Seriously, best picture of the day! The towers are free to visit, but rumor has it that you have to pay a fee to go inside.

Aside from the towers (and possibly even including them) San Marino is a pretty average (yet beautiful!) hilltop town. I’m really glad I dedicated the time to exploring it… and don’t feel at all guilty that I sat outside for lunch for two hours enjoying the great view! Ultimately there are just as beautiful hill towns here in Tuscany, if San Marino is out of your reach. For those wanting to explore it, the most direct way is to get a train to RImini Centrale and then to take the bus outside the station into San Marino. It’s worth a trip–if you can do it affordably! But hey, if you’re lucky you can walk away with this baby and bragging rights of having visited the fifth smallest republic in the world:

tourist, stamp, passport, san marino, italy,

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