Italy, San Marino, Liechtenstein Adventure

Day 05 - Thursday, April 11, 2019 - Drive to the Republic of San Marino

We were the first ones in the breakfast room this morning and Marco had everything ready for our early departure. By 8:15 AM we were all packed, the GPS was set for the Grand Hotel in San Marino, and we were ready for a travel day.

The Val d’Orcia had gotten rain during the night, but there were patches of blue sky this morning. The fog lifting from the hilltops was an eerie sight as we drove out of Pienza and retraced our path back to A1 and E35.

We stopped in the town of Sansepolcro, to explore a Familia Grocery Store. We like to visit real stores, especially grocery and hardware stores where the local people shop. The produce was remarkable, so fresh and healthy looking. The only thing we did not see was kale.

There were carpets of wild flowers along the roads. The narrower the roads became, the faster then Italian drivers seemed to fly by us. We are learning that speed limits were truly only a passing thought, not even a suggestion!

As we drove higher into the mountains approaching San Marino, the farms became smaller, with sustenance gardens, little vineyards, and family orchards. There were small herds of sheep and cattle enjoying the new greens in the pastures.

Climbing higher, we could not imagine this narrow one lane road would take us to San Marino. But Vic’s directions and the GPS map were in sync so we trusted our instincts and kept to the plan.

After three hours on the road, winding switchbacks finally led us to a sign that said - San Marino. One really has to want to come here – it is not on the way to anyplace else in Italy or in Europe for that matter.

Totally landlocked and surrounded by Italy, San Marino is the third smallest country in Europe, only bigger than The Vatican and Monaco; it is 24 square miles in area. There are ranches in Colorado bigger than this tiny country!

When Italy was unified in 1861, San Marino was given permission to remain a Republic in its own right. The country’s capital is also called San Marino, and that is where we will stay for three days.

After arriving in San Marino, it reminded us of Monaco; with lots of fast luxury sports cars. We parked on the street in front of the Grand Hotel and the desk clerk Antonio gave us a parking permit to place on the dash of the car.

We settled into our room and then went for lunch at the Guaita Bar & Gelateria, just two doors from the hotel. We shared a mixed green salad and a Piadina, a rustic Italian flatbread stuffed with Italian ham and soft local cheeses.

From the café we walked the length of the old town and climbed to the Guaita Tower, built in 1253, for fantastic views of the city. Well, they would have been fantastic but for the fog in the valley that obscured the landscape below.

San Marino is a tourist town, with many people on the streets from all over the world. We heard many languages spoken and Vic talked to a group of young people from Bosnia. The little shops featured souvenirs, leather goods, sunglasses, perfumes, and surprisingly weapons of all sorts.

By 4:30 it was time to walk back to the hotel to look over the photos and begin the journal. Many travel guides suggest that an afternoon in San Marino was enough, but tomorrow will be another day to explore the whole country of San Marino and the surrounding Italian culture.

Accommodations: Grand Hotel - - - Meal: B, L, D

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Italy, San Marino, Liechtenstein Adventure
Self Driving

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I just recently have some friends that are interested in going to San Marino. I didn't really know about this country either. I'm looking forward to hearing more from you on what I should know!

Carol Larson   April 11, 2019 - 9:10pm

The narrow curvy roads sound challenging,but you both are obviously up for it. The produce looks tantalizing. And Italian cows are just like Colorado bovines!

June Freyer   April 11, 2019 - 1:52pm

I never even knew that there is a country named San Marino!

Carolyn Moon   April 11, 2019 - 10:49am
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Familia Grocery Store

Familia Grocery Store

Local Bovine

Local Bovine

Valley Overlook

Valley Overlook

San Marino From Afar

San Marino From Afar

Guaita Tower - 1253 CE

Guaita Tower - 1253 CE

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