I am a pretty organised person. I love to plan. I love to schedule stuff.
I had our 5 month camper van trip pretty much scheduled to the day. Of course I hide my spreadsheet from everyone and just suggest places along the way to give the illusion I am going with the flow, but I am not sure the mister believes me.
Pretty much the only thing he requested in our month long Italy itinerary was to visit the country of San Marino, in Italy.
Never heard of it? Me either.
Buuuuut I guess I could give up one day and entertain him. This is his holiday too after all.
Nestled deep in the Italian countryside, San Marino (officially called the Republic of San Marino) is the world’s 5th smallest country with a population of just over 30,000 people & covering just 61km2.
Legend has it that a stonecutter named Marinus of Arbe, founded the monastic community in 301, making it the oldest surviving constitutional republic in the world. Although the republic is certain the area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, the first document confirming the existence of an organized community on Mount Titano is the Placito Feretrano, a parchment dating back to 885 d.C, the original of which is preserved in the State Archives.
Our adventure to this tiny country hidden in the hills of Italy kicked off with a long drive stuck in a traffic jam. Which we didn’t mind too much because we got to frequently stop to appreciate the beautiful rolling hills littered with small vineyards and farms.
Mandatory photo credit to the mister for capturing the gorgeous shot above.
Before heading into town to explore, we freshened up with a camper van shower. It’s frightening how used to this I have become.
We made our way through the maze of elevators and stairs till we reached a viewing platform.
Our stomachs grumbling we went on the hunt for a lunch spot. We headed up the windy streets of the old town.
Heading to lunch always makes me giddy.
Trip Advisor led us to the Smaller. At first we were dubious because it was completely empty but we were too hungry to keep going so we sat down, and got to work on the menu.
We had a long lunch planned so ordered the entree platter to share and the caprese salad.
We asked for a long break so we could play chess. The mister has been bugging me for years to learn how to play but so far I’m not giving him much competition.
The reviews raved about the gnocchi so we ordered both of them. This was the truffle and mushroom and it was perfect. So light and fluffy, clearly it was home-made.
And this was the green gnocchi stuffed with ricotta and creamy eggplant lathered in a pesto sauce.
Of course I had to add a mountain of parmesan.
After another break and another game the mister sent me off to order dessert. I couldn’t go past the dessert platter. There was mint semi freddo, a marscapone cup (which we fought over) and a creamy berry pannacotta.
Thoroughly stuffed we thought it was time to work off our lunch exploring the country.
We’ve been in Europe so long all the beautiful old buildings blend into one another, but whenever I go through photos I can appreciate their beauty so much more. I’m glad to have the photos to treasure when the magic of Europe wears off in every day life.
We snuck through a forest to get to the castle.
We found a rock jutting out into the landscape, the perfect spot for some photos.
And there she is. The jewel of San Marino.
We walked closer to get a better look.
On your way, make sure to look right, the view from here was so beautiful.
We didn’t brave the stairs as we were short on time but I’m sure she’s a beaut up close & inside.
We took a stroll through the streets where you can expect all the normal touristy shops and caricature artists.
The streets are somewhat of a maze. Lucky I had my gps (the mister) with me or i’d be stuck here forever.
The town is pretty at every turn. A photographer’s dream.
We found what’s sure to be the world’s smallest bar. Just a beer tap. No tables. No chairs. No stools. No barman. Not sure they’ll be in business long.
On our way back to the car we found my favourite spot in the entire country. You can see the rolling hills of Italy all around you.
And from up here the world feels so still. Which is a rarity in Europe in the summer.
So if you’re travelling in Italy, a visit to San Marino is a must. It’s got the old world Europe feel without the incessant tourists.
Do you have any secret places in the world you think people should visit? I love discovering new places to add to my ever growing bucket list.
If you’re looking for other bucketlist destinations, don’t miss this post on Lake Bled.
And Český Krumlov.
Don’t forget to hashtag #travelwiththemacadames on your travel pictures – We love to see where you’re exploring!
Anisa – The Macadames. xx