2. San Marino: Audio Guide Historic Walking Tour
A mere 30-minutes from the sea and high up on Mount Titan stands San Marino, guarded by its three medieval towers. On this walking tour, we’ll explore the unique nature of this city, the capital of Europe’s smallest and the world’s oldest republic of the same name, which dates back to 301 AD. Not only is San Marino a country inside a country, bordered by Italy on all sides – its capital is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Starting at the entrance to Porta San Francesco (Gate of Saint Francis), you’ll wander through the city’s narrow streets, past ancient churches and two of three towers, Torre Cesta and Guaita. Our 45-minute tour ends in Piazza della Libertà, where I’ll share how the city’s very own Statue of Liberty came to arrive in this square. Along the way, I’ll tell you how the people of San Marino have staunchly defended their freedom for over 17 centuries. You won’t only hear about the city, its architecture and history though. I’ll tell you about San Marino legends too, including one about a saint who befriended and rode a bear.
Other highlights on this tour include:
• Seeing the Cava dei Balestrieri, a quarry often used for crossbow shooting, a historical specialty in the city
• Walking through the 13th century Passo delle Streghe (the ‘pathway of witches’) where young girls used to come and dance around bonfires
• Taking in the sweeping views at the Il Cantone viewpoint and the tranquility of Giardini Borghesi, the Borghesi Gardens
• Stopping in front of Basilica di San Marino, where a settlement was first established
• Finding out about a number of unusual museums including the Torture Museum, the Curiosity Museum, and the Museum of Creatures of the Night
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants along the way for you to taste the local cuisine and wine. You can also take advantage of lower sales tax and browse for clothes, leather goods, souvenirs and items that you’d pay more for in the rest of Italy.