San Marino: A Country Within a Country

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In Italy there is another country within its premises; besides the Vatican and it is the Republic of San Marino and it is located in the north east part of the country between the region of Emilia Romagna and Le Marche and it sits upon Mount Tiano and it only extends to 61.5 kilometers square and with almost thirty two thousand habitants. And other factors that they are very proud of are that have a very solid economy, with the lowest unemploymentrate in Europe (even though they are not officially part of the European Union) and no national debtand a budget surplus.

The Republic of San Marino (officially known as the Serenissima Republica di San Marino), has old origins dating back to 301 A.D, making it the second oldest republic in the world after the Roman one and they have the longest continuous democracy since 1253. The country was founded by Saint Marinus, who was a stonecutter from Dalmatia and was running away from religious persecution from the Emperor Diocletan. And from that day the country started to have a reputation of welcoming people seeking refuge, in fact even Garibaldi and his wife stayed there for a day in 1849, when running away from the Austrians, and gave refuge to more than one hundred thousand during World War II.

As far as sightseeing the most famous architectures are the ones of the three towers (which also appear on the coins). The first tower, called “La Rocca” or “Guaita” which is the oldest of the three and originally it served as a prison when it was built in the 11th century.

The second tower is called “La Cesta” is also known as “Fratta” sits on the highest point othe Mount Titano, and it was built as a fortress, and even though the tower has had many restaurations you can still see the medieval aspects of it by the trapdoors. And it is open to the public and it only costs 3 Euros to visit, while they are open from March 20th to September 20th from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and from September 21st to March 19th from 8:50 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for National Holidays.

The third tower is called “Il Montale” or “Third Tower” and it is the smallest of the three peaks of the mount and it was built in the 14th century also as a fortress and in fact it was essential during the war with the Malatesta, whom owned the castles nearby.

San Marino’s towers are so important that they actually have a national cake called “La Torta di 3 Monti” which is a wafer cake with chocolate.

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