The oldest constitutional republic in the world, the Most Serene Republic of San Marino managed to hold on to its independence since the fourth century. It lies within Italy, between the borders of the Emilia-Romagna and Le Marche regions. San Marino is busy with tourists who come here for a day independently or on exclusive tours of Italy all year around.
Despite being the third smallest country in Europe with population of just over 32,000 people, San Marino has its own army, postal stamps, parliament, football team and a fair share of historic sites to visit. Most visitors come to this tiny state to see its capital, the town of San Marino with its beautiful medieval centre and formidable fortresses. Perched on the peaks of the Monte Titano, the three towers of San Marino dominate the town and offer spectacular views of the surrounding coastal plains and the Adriatic Sea, which is a few miles away. The oldest tower, Torre Guaita, was built in the 11th century, the other two, Torre Cesta and Montale a few centuries later. If you want to get away from the noisy crowds head to the Torre Montale, which is not open to public but offers beautiful views that can be enjoyed in relative peace. In the 1940s Twentieth Century Fox funded the restoration of the fortifications and used San Marino for filming the Prince of Foxes movie.
Do not miss the of the changing of the guards ceremony that takes place from April to September, every half hour from 8am to 6pm at the Palazzo Pubblico. There are also a few good museums in San Marino that will keep you amused: the State Museum, museums of torture and weaponry.
Although the local cuisine mostly consists of Italian dishes from the nearby regions, there are several specialties that can only be found in San Marino. Try the rabbit stew with fennel, the chocolate Tre Monti cake or the lemon-flavoured Cacciatello cake.
Photos via Flickr by: Vlad Ivanov, Giorgio Minguzzi, Vladimir Varfolomeev.