Playing castles in San Marino

As we could see the coast from Coriano, we drove the few kilometres down to the beach near Rimini. Rimini is a pleasant seaside resort town and we enjoyed a quick paddle in the sea and a stroll along the beach.

Dipping toes in the Adriatic

From the coast, we could see the hills rising up in the distance inland. A cluster of the taller and craggier looking hills had ramparts on. We were looking at one of the smallest countries in the world, San Marino (it’s the 5th smallest, 2nd smallest is Monaco). San Marino is a democratic republic that has some interesting and quirky history that has somehow survived through to the modern day. After reading up on the driving regulations and checking The Van’s insurance would be valid, we drove in to take a look.

A large part of San Marino’s economy now comes from tourism. And it manages to showcase itself very well. In the baking sun and very blue skies, the City of San Marino on top of the smallest hill was a very quaint little citadel.

We took the cable car up to the old town. Joolz paid the 5 Euros to get her tourist visa stamp in her passport as San Marino is not in the Schengen area. As no one actually checks or cares I saved my 5 Euros. We enjoyed the views from the ramparts and wandering along the narrow streets looking in the little shops. Most of the shops were selling an eclectic mix of knock off designer clothes, bags and perfumes, knives and guns and typical tourist tat. We saw a few teachers on school trips desperately trying to stop the kids buying knives!

At the end of the day we headed back inland towards Tuscany. We found a quiet car park that is popular with hikers in the day, but deserted at night and witnessed a great sunset.

Tomorrow we brave the traffic to make a pilgrimage to the circuit that does not sleep…

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