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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
Tower of Cesta