It was founded in the year 301, as a monastic community, by stonecutter Marinus of Arba. It is one of the world’s oldest countries and has the oldest constitution still in effect. It’s one of only two countries on Earth entirely surrounded by another country, the other being Lesotho. They once made American President Abraham Lincoln an honorary citizen. It has the joint second highest life expectancy of any country on Earth, at 83 years. And it’s the only country with more vehicles than there are people. Today, we’re in the Old Land of Freedom, San Marino.
The Republic of San Marino is a safe, stable and wealthy landlocked country in Europe, entirely surrounded by Italy. It is the fourth smallest country on Earth at 24 square miles, with the fourth smallest population with 32,831 people. The flag is adorned with the national coat of arms, with the white colour representing peace and the blue, purity. The motto of the country is simply ‘Libertas’, which is Latin for ‘Freedom’.
The Sammarinese live in a spectacular rugged and hilly land, dominated by the Apennine mountain range, an artistic and historic country of rich musical heritage. The locals love their food, drink and sport, in particular, football, basketball, volleyball and baseball, a proud and individual people, who are noted for their warm, friendly and hospitable nature. This country is a hidden gem with plenty to do and see.
There are wonderful sights such as Montale and De La Fratta, two of the three peaks that overlook the city of San Marino, the capital city of the country. Montale tower peeks its little head over the edge of the peak it resides on, like a curious little child playing in the woods. And then you have De La Fratta, a gentler and quieter complex, snug in its surroundings, maybe the attentive parent snoozing among the blanket of trees. Two massively iconic structures.
Then there’s the Basilica di San Marino, constructed in 1836, located in the city of San Marino. It’s striking and wondrous neoclassical facade is simple and elegant, a building that commands respect. Its empyrean brio and its timeless design, both inside and out, are something to be admired. And then there’s the gorgeous Palazzo Pubblico, the town hall of the city of San Marino. Overlooking the city and the rolling hills below, this sublime and stunning piece of architecture is nothing short of an absolute masterpiece. This whole nation feels like something from a different realm, and this mirable building and the isangelous vista, only serve to enhance that impression.
But I think the best sight of the country is Guaita, the final one of the three peaks that overlooks the city of San Marino, perhaps the grandfather of the three. It’s also the oldest of the peaks, and that shows in its beginningless rustic beauty, nestled beautifully atop a tall and domineering peak. It stands tall and proud, almost keeping a watchful eye over the land far, far below. This heavenly fortress is incicurable and ageless, almost ineffable. It’s warm and ethereal nature is a comforting embrace, elevating one to some mad, poetic and pulchritudinous dreamscape. It almost feels unreal, and perhaps that’s its greatest victory.
San Marino. The country of history, freedom and a whole lotta cars.
1) The flag of San Marino (credit: wikipedia.org)
2) Guaita (credit: wikipedia.org)
3) Palazzo Pubblico (credit: voteformytrip.wordpress.com)
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