The Majestic Towers of San Marino

The microstate enclave of the Republic of San Marino is located in the Northeast section of the Italian Peninsula. Indeed, the small size of San Marino belies its impressive history and iconic towers. Most of the interest lies in the capital city which is eponymously named San Marino. Its most striking aspect is that it sits on top of the 739 meter tall Monte Titano.

San Marino’s most notable features are the 3 towers that sit on the 3 peaks which make up the Monte Titano ridge line. As a result, the city offers some of the world’s most iconic photo opportunities and ancient infrastructure for visitors to enjoy.

Majestic Views from Mt Titano

The three towers of San Marino are very photogenic and they are certainly the main attraction. However, the 739 meter tall Monte Titano is the high point in the immediate area. As a result, there are also astounding views of the Apennine Mountains, Adriatic sea and the surrounding lowlands. It will all be unveiled before your eyes when you arrive.

View of Apenines from San Marino Vista
This photo is taken from a vista inside the city of San Marino. In addition to the three towers of San Marino, there are majestic views of the Apennine Mountains, Adriatic Sea and the surrounding lowland area.
The Towers of San Marino View
This view is looking east towards Rimini and the Adriatic Sea.
The ancient city streets of San Marino.
The ancient city streets of San Marino.

History of the San Marino Republic

Although San Marino is one of the smallest states in Europe, it has one of the most venerable historical backgrounds. The founding father of the republic was a Christian stonemason named Marinus.

Additionally, Marinus was originally from the island of Arba in what would be present day Croatia. The city walls of nearby Rimini had been destroyed by pirates in 256 ACE and Marinus had traveled to Rimini to assist with the reconstruction.

However, Marinus was also giving Christian sermons to his congregation in Rimini. As a result, he was targeted by the Roman emperor Diocletian who was vigorously persecuting Christians at that time.

Therefore, Marinus escaped to nearby Mt Titano and built a small Christian church for himself and his followers. Their small mountain community became a republic on September 3 301 ACE.

The only two states in Europe that are smaller than San Marino are Monaco and the Holy See. Therefore, it is somewhat of a miracle that the republic maintained its independence during the Napoleonic Wars, Italian unification and both world wars of the 20th century. It remains an independent state to this day.

The Three Towers in San Marino

The longstanding independence of San Marino was mostly attributed to shrewd diplomacy. Nonetheless, the republic and its capital city needed to defend itself. As a result, they constructed 3 majestic towers on the 3 mountain peaks surrounding the capital city.

  1. Tower of Guaita – this castle was constructed during the 11th century and briefly served as a prison. However, construction continued and the Guaita Tower reached it’s current size and design in the 15th century. The Guaita Tower is the oldest and most famous of the 3 castles of San Marino
  2. Tower of Cesta – this tower is the highest in San Marino because it sits on the highest peak. In 1956 a museum was constructed inside the tower in honor of Saint Marinus. Additionally, the Cesta Tower was constructed in the 13th century out of the remains of a Roman fort.
  3. Tower of Montale – The Montale Tower castle was constructed in the 14th century and it sits on the lowest of Mt Titano’s 3 peaks. The tower was also used as a prison and it is not open to the public.

Tower of Guaita

The Guaita Tower sits majestically over 700 meters above sea level. As a result, it is possible to see the Adriatic coast and the ancient city of Rimini, Italy in the background.
My friend is perched on a edge of the Guaita tower which sits over 700 meters above the small community that lies below.
Photo of my friend standing inside the rampart wall of Guaita Tower. Cesta Tower is seen in the distant background. 
The Guaita Tower with Adriatic Sea and Rimini, Italy in the background. Photo taken from vista point between Guaita Tower and Cesta Tower.

Tower of Cesta

Photo Cesta Tower in San Marino
Photo of Cesta Tower taken from the highest rampart at Guaita Tower.
Photo Cesta Tower in San Marino
Additional photo of Cesta Tower taken from the highest rampart at Guaita Tower.
Photo of Cesta Tower taken from outside the walls.
Photo of my friend standing behind the ramparts of Guaita Tower with Cesta Tower in the background.

Related Posts:

Roman Forum and the Remnants of Empire
Villa Jovis on the Isle of Capri