Let's be honest with each other, you have probably never even heard of San Marino.
It's okay, I hadn't either.
My dad came to visit this week (yay! so happy!) and we went on a little weekend trip to the oldest republic in the world: San Marino.
I did not know what to expect from this trip when my dad arrived on Thursday afternoon and we hopped on a train to Remini (through Bologna) and took a bus into San Marino.
We arrived by bus in San Marino, and to be honest I didn't even notice I entered an entire other country. There were no border controls or signs (unless I missed it...) or anything to distinquish the difference. For those who do not know, San Marino is located within Italy, however is it's own country. To put this in perspective: I had to pay to get my passport stamped with the country's symbol.
I totally suggest doing it.
Thursday night was wonderful and relaxing. We checked into our hotel, The Grand San Marino Hotel, with the city walls merely 100m away. At night, the town was desolate. When we had arrived earlier that afternoon tourists cluttered the streets searching for a picture of the renown tours the country is known for. After a nice dinner and a locals resturant that was buzzing around 8pm, we ventured out to explore the city walls before the sunset completely.
The next morning, we were up bright and early for complimentary breakfast (my favorite!). After breakfast, we set out to explore the castles of San Marino. The castles are actually fortresses that protect the city. From the fortresses one can see all the way to the sea on one side and on the other side the entire countryside surrounding it as it is perched on the tip of the mountain.
All Friday we explored the mountain city capital of San Marino. The city is realy cool becuase not only is built on a stone mountain with a 360 view, but the city is layered into the stone mountain.
We purchased visiter passes that allow you to enter all the museums in the city. We visited the diplomatic center (aka the capitol building), two of the fortresses, a church museum, and an art museum. My dad and I hiked to all three towers and celebrated Siesta before heading out to another peaceful dinner that night.
Saturday began with another hike to down the mountain. As little people speak English in San Marino and we speak little Italian (the language of San Marino). After getting lost and having to hike back up the road along the mountain we finally made it to the trail and hiked down the mountain into the nearest village. After this peaceful hike on an old stone path that had a cave (!!), we made it to the village. Instead of hiking back up (it was really really steep), we took the gondola back up to the top of the mountain.
Saturday night was probably one of the best parts. After a nice, fancy dinner, we crashed a concert. The concert was really cool. We just walked in and witnessed an acapella concert by four different groups from various countries and languages in Europe ranging from Austria (there were two Austrian groups), Germany, and Italy.
The weekend was wonderful with my dad and I am so so so happy that he came to visit me. I can not wait for Rome and seeing him in Florence for the next week.