Where is San Marino

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.

San Marino 03-19-11
San Marino at one end of Monte Titano

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.

Gondola ride to San Marino
The Funniculare that travels to the top of San Marino

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.

Town Hall-San Marino
Town Hall-San Marino

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.

View from the top at San Marino
View from the top at San Marino


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.

First Tower-San Marino
First Tower-San Marino

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.

Jim on top of San Marino
Jim on top of San Marino



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.

Tower Number Two
Tower Number Two

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.

It's a Long Way Down
It's a Long Way Down
Second Tower from Below
Second Tower from Below

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

Third Tower-Montale- Privately Owned
Montale- The Third Tower of San Marino

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.

View to the Sea
View to the Sea
Views of the Valley
Views of the Valley







Tower through Crenelation
View of Guaita


Looking up
Where is San Marino







Travelswithjim-1 790
Lot's of stairs and cobble stones
Travelswithjim-1 796
Montale Through the Pines and off to the Sea









Travelswithjim-1 812
Farewell San Marino

Related Posts

29 thoughts on “Where is San Marino

  1. Marquita Herald

    I love, love, love Italy! San Marino looks fascinating, though I’d probably be looking at it from below – got a thing about heights I’m afraid. Old castles are such amazing places to explore – haven’t been to many on my trips to Europe, but have visited a number in Japan. We live in such a interesting world!

  2. Tonya Heathco

    Jim, Quality post with beautiful pictures. It has been a dream of mine to visit Italy. No connection, just feel “pulled” to the country. Alas, my medical condition makes travel of this extent impossible. So glad to have connected with your blog. So unique to find such a hidden in plain site place of travel. I enjoyed the imagery in your words and the beauty of the pictures. You have made one of my dreams into a reality by bringing travel to me! Thank you so much.

  3. Lori Tisot

    Wow – absolutely beautiful country and amazing photos! What a fabulous job you’ve done of sharing them with us all!! Thank you! Lori

  4. Debi Talbert

    Jim – What amazing pictures and such details about San Marino. A city within a city, never even knew there was such a thing. You’ve given me to desire to take a trip to San Marino. Thanks for helping me add to my list of places to visit in Europe. – Debi

  5. Brandon Wraith

    The pictures you have taken are absolutely BREATHTAKING, also, you are so detailed and have even some historical information in there. This blog is a great idea to keep, and share your favorite memories, you will look back on this and be able to scroll to all of the amazing places you have been…. I will have to keep a section on my blog about travelling, just so I can remember all of the good times.

    A country within a country…. that’s something I had never even heard of before. I guess you learn something new every day 🙂

    Great post Jim!

  6. steveborgman

    Jim, those are some beautiful views. What a treat to travel the world. I’m living vicariously through your travels and your pictures. I look forward to seeing the world through your eyes 🙂

  7. Lian

    It looks like a wonderful place to visit. The view sure is breathtaking. But looking at the pictures definitely can’t replace the experience of being there. I guess you have to have quite a bit of stamina to explore that place. Thanks for sharing some history and your travel stories. I’ve been reading quite a bit here. Makes me feel like visiting these places too 🙂

    1. admin

      Hi Lian ~ Nope there’s nothing quite like being there for real. And you have no idea how much walking and climbing I did while I was in Europe in March. I lost six pounds during this last trip. 🙂

      And Yes, you should go see these places too!

  8. William E. Amis, Jr

    Jim, simply remarkable footage and lighting. You have made the skill of visualization wonderfully exposed in my eyes!

    I love the motivation feeling one gets for imagining traveling on all your journeys. You really are living your dreams.

    Thank you for sharing and I can not wait for the next experience.

  9. Melodie Kantner

    Wow. You have some beautiful pictures of a beautiful place. The view looks spectacular. I also love old castles. You make me want to go there.

    1. admin

      Hi Melodie ~ The castles I saw in Italy pale in comparison to England and Ireland. I have been to Ireland three times and seen many castles there as well as in Edinburgh Scotland.

      Absolutely, you should go to see the castles. They are incredible. Make sure you get to see Windsor Castle. You should plan to spend a whole day there. It’s an incredible place.

      And thanks for the comment. 🙂


  10. TK Goforth

    These are fantastic, James! We will be taking a trip to Italy next summer (hopefully — if my husband has anything to say about it — and that’s okay with me!) I am going to forward this on to him to take a look! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. admin

      HI TC ~ Italy was fabulous. I’m sure you will have a wonderful time. The pictures here are but a few of the thousands that I have. If you and/or your husband want any first hand information just let me know.


  11. Anonymous

    Jim wow these are some beautiful pictures and loved your narration. I can’t help but think how serene and peaceful that it all looks. That had to have been a great trip. Nice post my new friend.


    1. admin

      Hi Steve~ This was indeed a great trip. I’m looking forward to my next adventure in September. Thanks for the comment.

  12. Trevor Barrett

    Jim, you are a star with your camera and the ability to put all the pictures together to share on a website with us.
    I have not been to San Marino myself, even though it is only about 30 minutes away from the Mediterranean.
    Next time, I must stop off at Rimini and find my way to this beautiful place.

  13. Irene Kusters Berney

    Jim, you have done a outstanding journal from your trips. Enjoy every picture, and great moments of remembering the times I visit Italy. Italy is a beautiful country , with great architectural buildings and art. People are very friendly. One thing that I experienced over the years, that buying my Italian brand shoes, was cheaper to by in Holland, than in Italy. They export their better variety and hardly anything I like was for sale in Italian stores.
    My favorite place is still Fiorenze. The downtown and bridges have taken my heart. People seem to have more time to communicate. Have great memories from there.
    Thank you so much for sharing, keep on feeding us with more trips, you are doing a marvelous job.

  14. LeeAnn Townsend

    WOW! What breathtaking country!!! The pictures are beautiful!!! I love your description of the area and your experience . I would love to visit there one day. 🙂

  15. Anonymous

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for sharing your incredible journey with us.. this is a wonderful passion blog and you are certainly passionate about travel…great job!

    I can’t believe how vivid and professional your pictures are. I feel like I am looking at a Postcard, only better.

    For me this is the next best thing to being in Italy. You make it feel like we are right there with you. I hope someday to be able to make that trip, too.

    I look forward to my next mini vacation when I visit your blog again soon.

    To your continued travels,

    1. admin

      Hi Marc ~ Thanks for the great comment. I had never thought about this being a passion blog. I’ve never heard of that before. But it certainly fits. I do indeed have a passion for travel and having this platform to share it all is quite cool.

  16. Christine Casey

    Hi Jim ~ Absolutely breathtaking photos!! One goal of mine when my son goes away to college in a couple of years is to travel, and Italy is the country that is first on my list to visit…and after reading your post, may have to make a point to add San Marino to my itinerary 🙂 Appreciate you sharing, and enjoyed reading all the details about this city I had not heard of before your post!

  17. Willena Flewelling

    Ooohhh wow!!! If I ever get to visit Italy, San Marino is one place I want to see!! The blue of the sky is wonderful! And even when it’s overcast, it’s beautiful. I love your photos! Thanks so much for sharing them with us.

    Willena Flewelling

  18. Caryn Potter

    Wow Jim this looks like an amazing place. Great photos that give you a real feeling of being right there. I will be adding it to my list of places I would like to visit so thank you for the tour. Seeped in history and beautiful to boot. My cup of tea.
    Caryn Potter

  19. Dereckarreguin

    Jim, those shots are breath taking!

    Great job and it makes me want to travel even more than I already do. Oh man… to get out of the US and see the rest of the world!

    Thanks for sharing and I look forward to living my traveling adventures more though your travels :D.


  20. Alexander Paul

    Hi James,

    Thx for bringing back some memories! I can remember way back in the mid 80’s when my family and I were visiting San Marino… We were on the way through to Pesaro and we had such an awesome time… My brother and I were posing at the canons and enjoyed the run around between the towers. I love Italy and experiencing such a history rich scenery is worthwhile the trip. Thx for describing your visit in so much detail and make it colorful with all the pictures around.

    All the best,


  21. Perry A Davis Jr

    Hello Jim

    What an exciting story to read about San Marino  being  the oldest surviving republic dating back to
    monastic times and the oldest surviving surviving
    constitution which was enacted in the year 1600.  Your photo, San Marino at one end of Monte Titano, is so breath taking it inspired me to want to see the other photos and read this article.  It was a joy to read the comments of the the driver of the Gondola and his expression of how awesome a country
    America is.  Thanks for sharing this wonderful story


    Perry A Davis Jr
    Music City

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *