San Marino, the least visited country in Europe
You might not have heard about it, but San Marino is the third smallest country in Europe, after the Vatican and Monaco. The country is landlocked and lies between Italy’s north-central regions of Emilia-Romagna and Marche. Meanwhile, the 38 sq mi country is a true hidden treasure.Reportedly, only around 80,000 travelers cross San Marino’s borders each year, making it a mostly unspoiled destination. The tiny country has preserved its unique identity and all its medieval charm which make it a worthy visit indeed.
The tiny nation nestles on the peaks of the Apennine Mountains and has developed along with the modern world, but carefully preserves its independence and culture. On entering San Marino, the first thing that will strike you is its beautiful landscapes. Among the mountains, Mount Titano is where the city-nation is located, with gorgeous views over its surroundings, right into Italy on the horizon.
Things to see and do
It is a pleasure to stroll the winding cobblestoned streets of the city, lined with local craft shops, medieval stone houses and pretty cafés. The country’s capital, which is also named San Marino, is a wonder to explore. Here, a treasure trove of fortified ramparts, walls, gates, bastions and watchtowers stand tall, along with churches dating back over the centuries.
Meanwhile, the historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, described by the organization as “an exceptional testimony to a living cultural tradition that has persisted over the last seven hundred years.”According to UNESCO, San Marino is inscribed as a testimony to the continuity of a free republic dating back to the Middle Ages. The city’s basilica dates from the 19th century, while its convents date back to the 14th and 16th centuries. Meanwhile, the city’s main square, the Palazzo Publico dates from the 19th century and the Titano Theatre from the 18th.
History and art preserved
All this striking architecture represents a historical center that is still inhabited and preserved. Moreover, due to its position on Mount Titano, the city has not been affected by the urban changes that have occurred from the start of the industrial era to today. Moreover, there are many museums to explore that trace the history of this tiny republic. On display are artistic treasures, medieval weapons, ancient manuscripts and many other relics of the country’s past.For those seeking a true getaway in Europe this summer in an unspoiled location, San Marino ticks all the boxes. Explore its beautiful streets, enjoy its surrounding landscapes and experience a different kind of European vacation. The official tourism website tells us that San Marino is “Far from clichés, close to you.”