So the ‘proper’ border between San Marino and Italy is where I have marked on the left in Dogano; I didn’t see this until I was on the bus leaving much later. I actually entered the country on the right, hence I initially just car garages and factories.
A big bridge with a funny tower on the left. These little eccentric details is why I keep coming to Europe’s lesser known nations.
Things I learnt about San Marino:-
- It is named after a Christian stonemason called Marinus, who escaped persecution and it’s the world’s oldest Republic, since 301AD in fact.
- Its the 5th smallest country in the world, and enclaved inside Italy. There are only 3 countries in the world like this, The Vatican (which of course is also inside Italy) and Lesotho which is inside South Africa.
- It uses a +378 telephone where as Italy is +39, although you can call internally from Italy without a country code. It has its own mobile provider, but this didn’t show up on my UK Vodafone Android phone. Instead despite being very high up on a hill, phone signal for Vodafone Italy was very patchy which was strange.
- Internet domain is .sm and oval country stickers show (RSM) – Republic San Marino; the formal name of the country is The most serine Republic of San Marino.
- It’s in Europe but not in the EU, and uses the Euro currency
- It’s a tax haven (not so much of a surprise), but there isn’t so much cigarettes and booze shops, but there are more cars (with San Marino plates) than people. So it would appear Italians buy a car here for a discount, who don’t actually live in SM.
- The country is on top of Mount Titano. At the top you can see for miles, to to the sea or possibly across the Adriatic Sea to Croatia.
- Of course, people here speak Italian. Locals are known as Sammarinese, not Italian.
- San Marino is a mostly Catholic country. They hid Italian Jewish people, whilst Italy was occupied by the Nazis.
- The capital of San Marino is San Marino (at the highest point of the country) This reminds me of the fact that Tunis is the capital of Tunisia, where I went in 2019, when you write the capital and the nation in Arabic, they both look the same.
- This country has about 33,000, so smaller than Liechtenstein and Monaco.
What it isn’t.
- A race track. A F1 race circuit with the name San Marino is actually in the town of Imola, near the Apennine mountains in Italy, now defunct, as no races have been there since 2006. This was the place both Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna died within a week of each other in 1994.
- I thought the name sounds like Sans Marina (without sea, in Latin?) as its 13km from the coast and landlocked.
- There is no king or monarchy.
This is my final small country in Europe I think. Why am seeing these? I also wanted to see which countries are not reliant on the European Union. (oo.. touchy subject) I like the feel of a small tight community country.
1. Planning visit to my final tiny country – 2. Flying to Italy for the price of two pizzas – 3. Getting there from Bologna via Rimini – 4. City of Rimini – 5. Walking from Rimini to San Marino – 6. What sort of mini country is this – 7. Serraville, San Marino’s northern town – 8. San Marino’s only youth hotel – 9. Castles in the sky – 10. Safe up the top – 11. The tall centre of community of San Marino – 12. novelty shops, post office and passport stamps – 13. The government buildings and plaza – 14. Automobiles – 15. The three towers – 16. What I didn’t see & finishing up