San Marino is a tiny Republic State in Europe. Situated near Rimini in Italy, this fortified city is UNESCO listed due to its intangible heritage and culture.
This Republic is steeped in heritage and the only way to see this tiny country is to take a San Marino tour, whether self-guided or with a personal guide to learn more about its fascinating history.
I visited San Marino in February and felt as though I had stepped back in time. It was snowing and appeared as a Medieval winter wonderland. I stayed here for four nights but a weekend break is enough time to see the museums and wander around the old town.
Whether you are planning on visiting San Marino for a day or a long weekend, here is a self-guided San Marino tour you can take at your own pace.
Self-Guided San Marino Tour
Start at Porta San Francesco (otherwise known as St. Francis’ Gate). This is near the lift from the parking and leads to the heart of the old town.
From Porta San Francisco walk upwards to piazzetta Titano pass Via Basilicius where you can spend an hour or two visiting the State Museum discovering the history of the San Marino.
From Piazzetta Titano you can walk to via Eugippo where the Crossbowmen’s Quarry stands (known as Cava dei Balestrieri). This is the seat of the performances of the San Marino’s Crossbowmen Federation. If you walk further from Contrada del Collegio you can reach the Hero of the Two Worlds statue at piazza Garibaldi. You can also visit the Philatelic and Numismatic Office.
For a gorgeous panoramic of San Marino, you are only a short stroll away from the so-called Cantone which offers views of the Adriatic Coast and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.
Spend some time here taking in the view or jump aboard the cableway which goes to Borgo Maggiore.
If you continue your walk instead of taking the cableway, head along contrada del Pianello, to the piazza della Libertà. This is home to the Public Palace (Palazzo Pubblico) which you can enter.
The Public Palace was rebuilt in a Gothic style in the 20th century using the local limestone. This is the home of the Great and General Council and where the official ceremonies take place.
Outside the Palace is San Marino’s very own Statue of Liberty. A statue that was given to San Marino in the late 19th century by Countess Otilia Heyroth Wagener.
Up the hill from here is one of the most stunning Basilicas known as Basilica of the Saint. Dating back to 1825, a statue of Saint Marinus sits inside its stunning white columns behind the altar.
The Bascillia is the perfect place to sit and reflect (or you can light a candle and remember those who have passed). Pay a visit to the Church of St. Peter which is in the same vicinity as the Basilica.
When you are ready to see the towers – the landmarks of San Marino – take contrast della Peive and contrada dei Magazzeni. Keep walking in the direction of salita all Rocca to the First Tower (called Guaita). All three towers are connected by a mountain pass.
Then it’s onto the Second Tower (called Cesta) for even more views of the Adriatic coast. The Witches’ Path (called Passo delle Streghe) is where you will definitely be spoilt for vistas.
If you venture into the Second Tower expect to find the Museum of Ancient Weapons with weapons dating as far back as the 8th century. If you retrace your steps you can stop at Cava Antica, an ancient quarry.
As you work your way back to the start of your own San Marino tour, you descend along Contrada Santa Croce to piazza Garibaldi before heading down via Basilicius which leads back to Porta San Francesco.
There are a variety of different routes you can take which also include the Titano Theatre, or the Open Air Museum. Remember to wear comfortable walking shoes as the walk is up and downhill.
If you prefer a private tour with a guide, you can take a morning or afternoon tour to learn more about this Republic.
Is San Marino good for solos? I loved my time here and give it 5 stars. It is definitely a destination for solos who enjoy history and tranquility.