Friday, 19 May 2017

SAN MARINO: Visit San Marino, A Little Known Republic Neighbouring Italy

San Marino or the Republic of San Marino, is the third smallest state in Europe after the Holy See City and Monaco, and claims to be the world's oldest republic.

According to tradition, it was founded by a Christian stonemason named Marinus in 301. San Marino's foreign policy is aligned with that of Italy, which surrounds it. Social and political trends in the republic also track closely with those of its larger neighbour.

San Marino is the world's oldest republic and Europe's third smallest state. It lies 657 m above sea level with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and Adriatic coast, and is situated only 10km from Rimini. Legend has it that the founder of San Marino, a stonemason, arrived from the island of Rab in Dalmatia and climbed Mt. Titano to found a small community of Christians, persecuted for their faith by the Emperor Diocletian.

The tourist sector contributes over 2.2% of San Marino's GDP, with approximately 2 million tourists having visited in 2014.

San Marino is a predominantly Catholic state — over 97% of the population profess the Roman Catholic faith, but it is not the established religion. Approximately half of those who profess to be Catholic practice the faith. There is no episcopal see in San Marino, although its name is part of the present diocesan title.

Historically, the various parishes in San Marino were divided between two Italian dioceses, mostly in the Diocese of Montefeltro, and partly in the Diocese of Rimini. In 1977, the border between Montefeltro and Rimini was readjusted so that all of San Marino fell within the diocese of Montefeltro. The bishop of Montefeltro-San Marino resides in Pennabilli, in Italy's province of Pesaro e Urbino.

However, there is a provision under the income tax rules that the taxpayers have the right to request for allocation of 0.3% of their income tax to the Catholic Church or to "other" charities. The churches include the two religious groups of the Waldensian Church and Jehovah's Witnesses.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro was until 1977 the historic diocese of Montefeltro. It is a suffragan of the archdiocese of Ravenna-Cervia.The current diocese includes all the parishes of San Marino. The earliest mention of Montefeltro, as Mona Feretri, is in the diplomas by which Charlemagne confirmed the donation of Pepin.

The first known bishop of Montefeltro was Agatho, whose residence was at San Leo. Under Bishop Flaminios Dondi the see was again transferred to San Leo, but later it returned to Pennabilli. The historic diocese was a suffragan of the archdiocese of Urbino.

Since 1988, there is formally a apostolic nunciature to the republic, but it's vested in the nuncio to Italy.

There has been a Jewish presence in San Marino for at least 600 years.The first mention of Jews in San Marino dates to the late 14th century, in official documents recording the business transactions of Jews. There are many documents throughout the 15th to 17th centuries describing Jewish dealings and verifying the presence of a Jewish community in San Marino. Jews were permitted official protection by the government.

During World War II, San Marino provided a haven for more than 100,000 Italians and Jews,approximately ten times the Sammarinese population at the time from Nazi persecution. Today, only a few Jews remain.

San Marino is made up of a few towns dotted around the mountain sides. The capital of San Marino is itself called 'San Marino' and is situated high up on a mountain top. The capital is surrounded by a wall and three distinct towers overlook the rest of the country. The site San Marino Historic Centre and Mount Titano, has become part of the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008.

The towns surrounding the capital are more industrial and generally not as attractive as the main city. San Marino is 20 times bigger than Monaco and half the size of Liechtenstein.

The cuisine of San Marino is extremely similar to Italian, especially that of the adjoining Emilia-Romagna and Marche regions, but it has a number of its own unique dishes and products. Its best known is probably the Torta Tre Monti or Cake of the Three Mountains or Cake of the Three Towers, a wafer layered cake covered in chocolate depicting the Three Towers of San Marino. The country also has a small wine industry.

Going To San Marino

San Marino is not a member of the European Union or European Economic Area. However, it maintains an open border with Italy. Foreigners staying more than 10 days in San Marino must have a permit from the government.

San Marino has no airports. The nearest major airport is at Rimini. There are other airports at Ancona, Bologna and Forlì.

San Marino has no railway stations. The nearest major railway station is at Rimini.

Driving into San Marino. International agreements with Italy mean that the country is one of 3 associate members of the Schengen Area, so doesn't have border controls.

Bus 72 runs from Rimini to San Marino daily at regular intervals. A return ticket costs around €9, one way is €5. This bus can be found just outside the Rimini train station outside Burger King. It is advisable to show up a little bit earlier to ensure enough seats remain on the bus.

Tickets can either be bought prior to boarding the bus at the bus stop itself, or in advance at the Tourist Information Centre where you can also deposit your luggage for a small fee if they still have available space,€3 per item; centre closes at 18:45 most days.


In the Citta

The Città (San Marino City) can be roughly grouped into 12 levels:

Salita Alla Rocca, Contrade dei Magazzeni, di Borgoloto & del Collegio, Basilica
Piazza della Libertà, Contrada Santa Croce
Vie Donna Felicissima & Eugippo
Via Basilicius, Contrade dei Liburni & Omerelli
San Francesco, Contrade della Mura, San Francesco & di Portanova
Via Piagge
Piazzale Marino Calcigini, Vie Pietro Tonnini, della Capannaccia & della Rata
Via Gino Giacomini
Vie Jan Henryk Dabrowski, dei Villanoviani, Ca' Giello & Aia Zoli
Vie Montalbo, Sant'Antimo, La Riva & Pietro Rossi, Contrada Sant'antonio
Piazze Mercatale & Grande
Via del Fontanone, Piazzale Campo della Fiera

There is a short cable car called the Funivia connecting Piazza della Libertà, on level 2 to Piazzale Campo della Fiera in Borgo Maggiore,on level 12.

Once inside the walled city, it's small enough to simply walk around. The majority of streets can accommodate only small cars, cycles & mopeds.

Some streets can accomodate larger cars & buses while some can only accommodate pedestrians,mostly called Contrade or neighbourhoods.

Despite not being particularly car-friendly, parking is abundant in the Citta. Here is a list of municipal car parks, which each have their own number:

Via Piana, along the city wall on level 6.
Piazzale Marino Gangi on level 6.
Via J.F. Kennedy, outside the congress centre on level 2.
Viale Antonio Onofri on level 3.
Passo della Murata Nuova on level 3.
Piazzale Cava Antica on level 1.
Cava degli Umbri on level 1.
Via Piagge on level 6.
Underground multi-storey, entrances on Via Gino Giacomini on level 8 & Via Jan Henryk Dabrowski on level 9. Pedestrian access via a lift to the bus station on level 8, from where there is another lift to the coach park on level 7, from where yet another lift goes to level 6.
Via Jan Henryk Dabrowski on level 9.
Piazzale Campo della Fiera on level 12, outside the lower cable car station.
Viale Campo dei Giudei on level 12.

The people in San Marino speak a very clear Italian. Also, due to the high density of Russian tourists, in a lot of shops and restaurants people speak Russian. The English language can help you get around.

You can see two of the three towers,as seen on the flag of San Marino by purchasing the Red Card for €4.50. The yellow card €3 only allows you to see one of the towers. You cannot enter the third tower, there does not seem to be an entrance.

Simply walk around the city. The narrow streets are full of surprises. The walkways wind up and down the hillside in an interesting way, inviting exploration.

Fish can be caught in San Marino lake in Faetano.

Get your passports stamped at the tourist information centre. This is an excellent souvenir as they stick a visa tax stamp and then an official ink stamp over the top, €5.

Contrary to previous entries, obtaining such a stamp does not in any way invalidate your passport. San Marino is a fully, internationally recognised, sovereign country and as such is perfectly entitled to issue its own passport stamps to anyone who wishes to have one.

Whether they are for official immigration or optional souvenir purposes is not relevant, there is still nothing illegal whatsoever about getting one and absolutely no problems will arise from you having a San Marino stamp in your passport.

Warnings of invalidating travel documents are wholly unjustified and should be ignored. If you want a stamp then get one without hesitation, it's a very unique souvenier. There is literally nowhere else on Earth you can get a San Marino passport stamp.

International agreements define the country's currency as the same as Italy's, so San Marino has the euro as its sole currency along with 24 other countries that use this common European money.

These 24 countries are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain,official euro members which are all European Union member states as well as Andorra, Kosovo, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino and the Vatican which use it without having a say in eurozone affairs and without being European Union members.

Together, these countries have a population of more than 330 million.

One euro is divided into 100 cents. While each official euro member as well as Monaco, San Marino and Vatican issues its own coins with a unique obverse, the reverse, as well as all bank notes, look the same throughout the eurozone. Every coin is legal tender in any of the eurozone countries.

A lot of the souvenir shops sell weapons, from swords to B-B guns.

Like other states which have the Euro as their currency, San Marino has its own patterns on the back of the Euro coins. You can try to obtain these coins by simply going around buying things and collecting the coins that way, but a quicker solution is to buy the set in a souvenir shop.

Unfortunately, these sets seem to lack the € 1 and € 2 coins.

Prices for items such as disposable cameras and batteries are cheaper in San Marino than they are in Italy. This is partly because in San Marino you don't have to pay the 22% IVA (VAT) that you have to pay in Italy.

Price of Cigarettes are lower than Italy.

Tax Free is available for all the tourist that comes in San Marino with Passport and Valid Credit Card,except italian.

The Sammarinese cuisine is a reflection of the surrounding regional Italian cuisine (cucina Romagnola). Hence the Piadina, a a thin flatbread, is very popular.

Supermarkets in San Marino are few and far-between, although the following can help in this area:

Conad. Azzurro Shopping Centre, V M Moretti 23, Serravalle SM 03508
Sma Supermercati. Via del Passetto 113, Fiorentino SM
Ristorante Terrazza Titano. Contrada del Collegio 31, Repubblica di San Marino
La Fratta. Next to the parking lot n.6, Via Salita alla Rocca, 14, Repubblica di San Marino

Legally you can buy or drink alcohol when you reach 16.

The local beer is very tasty.
Spirits are also very commonly found, especially Limoncello, a lemon liquor.
Try the locally produced wine.
The coffee, like in its Italian neighbour, is superb.

Although San Marino has a few hotels, the seaside resort of Rimini has a lot more and is probably a cheaper option.

Grand Hotel San Marino, Viale Antonio Onofri, The Grand Hotel San Marino rises on the peak of Monte Titano, close to the Rocche and the Old Town Center. With a few minutes stroll you will find yourself immersed in the rich culture and history of this city.

Hotel Titano, Contrada del Collegio. Located right in the center of the town. The rooms are small but cozy, and it is connected to a very nice restaurant. The downside is that unless you are an early riser, the nearby church bells will ring every 15 minutes to remind you of the time starting from early in the morning.

San Marino is a safe country. Like in any other place that attracts many tourists, you should watch out for pickpockets.

This is a very healthy place. If you become ill, procedures are the same as the European Union, although serious conditions will likely have you taken to Rimini.

San Marino is a very proud country and it should be viewed in this respect. Be respectful when having photos taken with the guards, a smile will do, hand gestures/funny faces are not received well.

It would be considered very offensive to call them "Italians" - not that they don't like Italians, but they are just extremely proud of their independence.

Ha, just go for San Marino
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