The Ancient Republic of San Marino: A Private Walking Tour
San Marino, Italy
- The walled city: Walk through ancient stone gates and explore the steep cobbled lanes of a town where time came to a standstill centuries ago – cordoned off behind romantic citadel walls stacked on a rocky outcrop near the Adriatic coast.
- Piazza della Liberta: Soak up jaw-dropping views in the square where a Palazzo Publico (Government Palace) has stood since the 1300s, with the even older Basilica just behind. Salute the Lady of Liberty statue, her head crowned with towers representing San Marino's fortifications.
- Changing of the Guard: You might have a chance to watch snappily dressed sentries – known as the Guard of the Rock – go through a precisely choreographed changing ceremony. The microstate of San Marino doesn't skimp on pageantry.
- Small group = more personal: Share your experience with only people you know; enjoy the luxury of deeper interaction with your guide and a more flexible itinerary.
About this San Marino tour
It's in Italy, but it's not Italy. The Most Serene Republic of San Marino, last of the autonomous city-states that once covered the Italian peninsula, is an independent micro-nation tucked scenically between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic.
A walk through its capital city, also called San Marino, reveals just how little things have changed since it was founded in 301 A.D. Encased in notch-topped walls that crawl up and down the steep slopes of Mount Titano, high above the green plains below, this World Heritage Site is a picture window into long-past times.
Its three famous castles, dating back to the 11th century, share adjacent peaks and prime placement on the country's flag and seal. The Neoclassical Basilica of San Marino stands on ground that's had a church on it continuously since the 5th century. Inside, the ancient bones of the city's namesake, St. Marino, reside in the place of honor by the altar.
Next door, at the Church of St. Peter, niches carved into the solid rock apse are thought to actually be beds in which St. Marino and St. Leo, his lifelong friend, rested back in the 4th century, when their monastic community was young.
Yet not all of San Marino's attractions are so aged. The Palazzo Publico building went up in 1894, and looks like someone airlifted a shrunken copy of Florence's iconic Palazzo Vecchio up onto the main square.
In the plaza out front, a confident Carrara marble warrior princess in a triple-towered crown looks as if she might stride right off her pedestal and down the street. An 1876 gift from a German countess, the Lady of Liberty is the perfect symbol of San Marino's abiding respect of freedom.
That same respect is what inspired this tiny country to name Abraham Lincoln an honorary citizen in 1861, as he dealt with grave challenges to his own republic. He wrote back on May 7, less than a month into the Civil War, using language that would be echoed two years later in the Gettysburg Address.
On the right side of history
Founded 1700 years ago by a Christian stonemason named Marinus as a monastic safe haven from persecution, San Marino's predominantly Catholic population has always had a soft spot for victims of oppression, regardless of their beliefs. Formally neutral during World War II, San Marino provided sanctuary from Nazi persecution for some 100,000 Italians and Jews – eight times the tiny republic's population during the war years.
Please proceed to Piazza della Liberta and look for the GoBe Rep with the displayed logo sign.
Expect a classic, Mediterranean-like climate, with hot summers and rain in the spring and fall. Remember your sunscreen.
Expect to walk for approximately 2 miles over varying surfaces and up steps and inclines. This tour is not suitable for travelers with limited mobility.
Cultural, Scenic, Private Tour
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for children ages 6 years or older as they may find 2 hours of walking/standing difficult.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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