San Marino: Castle Country in the Clouds

San Marino: Castle Country in the Clouds

With stone towers and walls surrounding its heart and sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2008, the Republic of San Marino holds the claim to being the world’s oldest sovereign state and constitutional government.

San Marino on
UNESCO plaque at the entrance to the capital

San Marino on

My brothers wanted to soak in as much of Europe as possible before heading back home from their one-week visit, so after joining us in Berlin and then Italy, they naturally jumped at the opportunity to see San Marino. The Republic of San Marino is the third smallest European country, landlocked completely by Italy (see the map below), with entirely hilly terrain and its highest point, Mount Titano, around 2,450 feet above sea level.

San Marino on


San Marino on
Guaita tower interior


We drove our diesel-powered rental car about 3.5 hours from Eraclea Mare to the City of San Marino, the capital of the Republic of San Marino, and spent a few hours there.  Taking an alternate route home, we also managed to have a short visit to Bologna on the same day.

Diana and Ian in San Marino on
Ian and me on the wall just outside the entrance to the capital

San Marino on
The view down below

After driving the winding road upwards to the historic centre of San Marino, we paid just a few euros for parking and headed in through the stone archway at the entrance to the city. It took us about 2-3 hours to walk through the town at a leisurely pace and see all three towers up close.

San Marino on

San Marino on
Up and down were the only directional options in hilly San Marino.

San Marino on
We found the best views climbing around on the narrow stairs along the walls throughout the city.

San Marino on


The three towers of San Marino, the main sites to see when you visit, are located on the peaks of Mount Titano in the capital.

  1. Guaita (11th century construction)
  2. Cesta (13th century construction)
  3. Montale (14th century construction)

Map of San Marino on
A map in the parking lot shows the location of the three towers.

The first two towers are easily accessible and open to visitors for a small fee, while the third, privately-owned tower is closed to the public.

Guaita tower, San Marino on
Above: The Guaita, 1st of the three towers of San Marino (My brothers are up there with their arms up.)

Cesta tower, San Marino on
Above: The Cesta, 2nd of the three towers of San Marino

Montale tower, San Marino on
Above: The Montale, 3rd of the three towers of San Marino

San Marino on
For times of defense

San Marino on
Walkway to the Cesta, 2nd of the three towers of San Marino

Cesta tower, San Marino on

San Marino on
I see what they were going for here…

San Marino on
Walkway to the Cesta

San Marino on
The crossing guard at the city’s entrance is a welcoming touch.

Paragliding near Montale tower San Marino on
I suppose this guy has the best view of all.

View all the photos from our day trip to San Marino in the gallery below.


You can read more about San Marino on Wikipedia.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. I welcome your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

About the Author

Diana Southern
In March 2014, Diana called it quits on her traditional American working life and set out to explore the world with her partner in crime (and love of her life) Ian Norman. They now live a sustainable life of full time travel, working for themselves and seeking adventure at the same time. Here on North to South, Diana documents their journey in achieving and maintaining this "road less traveled" way of life.

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