On our way back to Rome from an awesome visit to Venice we headed for a place called San Marino. Where is San Marino? I had no idea that such a place existed and that I was going to be able to go there.
San Marino is the only Country in the world to be located wholly inside of another country. In this case San Marino is surrounded on all sides by Italy. While the part that I visited was at the top of a mountain, the rest of the country takes up a mere twenty-four square miles and is the home to approximately 30,000 people.
Arriving at the top is no easy feat. The residents are all welcome to come and go as they please which makes perfect sense to me. The rest of us are welcome to walk, ride a bike or better yet take the Funniclare.
This was, in fact, one of many such Gondolas that I was able to take during my trip to Italy. It was interesting that as we left Venice the terrain was relatively flat not too dissimilar from the farm lands in the USA. In fact in more than one location we spotted fairly extensive tree farms.
As we approached San Marino the terrain changed dramatically. We were only able to drive as far as the base of the Funniculare. Even that relatively minute altitude change caused my ears to pop.
The driver of the Gondola was an interesting young man who, when he found out we were American regaled us with with how awesome a country America is. He has his heart set on traveling to Los Angeles, California. And while he had heard of Maine he expressed no real interest in traveling to that part of the US.
San Marino is officially known as The Republic of San Marino. In addition to being the oldest surviving republic dating back to monastic times, it also boasts the oldest surviving surviving constitution which was enacted in the year 1600.
San Marino survives untouched by other civilizations in part due to it’s strategic placement at the top of a Monte Titano in the Apennines Mountain Range.
The views from way up there were at once awe inspiring but also breathtaking.
Of most interest to me was the Castle like structure of the em-battlements. Stretched across the top ridge of Monte Titano in the Apennines Mountain Range is the city of San Marino but also the Castle and it’s three towers.
Tourists are generally able to see the first two of the towers first hand.
This first tower is much steeper than it looks from the outside.
As you get closer to the top some of the spaces get narrower and more treacherous. This first tower is known as The Fortress of Guaita. It was constructed in the eleventh-century and once served as a prison.
I noticed right away that there are almost no protective guardrails or fences. It makes for great picture opportunities.
This picture of me with Italy in the background and the Mediterranean even further off is an exception to the no guardrail observation which is a good thing as far as I am concerned.
While I didn’t have any issues climbing up and up and up, I still have a very healthy respect for down and made sure that I was as safe as I needed to be.
Above is the picture of the second tower from the first. This tower is known as Cesta. It was constructed in the fourteenth-century and sits on the highest of Mount Titano’s peaks. Each tower seemed to be just a little bit higher up than the next. So to get to this next tower I had to go all the way down all the stairs I had just climbed then back to the cobble stone path and back up the next rise to this next tower.
The last of the three towers is known as Montale. There is no information that I could find about when it was constructed. Chet told me that when he was here last he was disappointed having walked all the way over there that it was closed to the
public. I have since discovered that the reason it is closed to the public is that this one last tower, much further away than the rest is still privately owned.
Just imagine owning your own tower amongst the three towers of San Marino. Just the awesome view from way up there would be worth it.