Because of San Marino’s high altitude, the view when walking around this enclave of central Italy is a bit like looking out of an aeroplane window onto endless clouds and the spectacular snow-capped Apennines. Founded in AD 301 by a stonemason named Marino, the rugged city-state claims to be the world’s oldest republic. Steeped in medieval history, a visit here is not complete without trekking up to the three imposing tower-fortresses perched along the cliff tops, the oldest of which, the Rocca Guaita, dates back to the 10th century. Also check out the infamous torture museum, which uses diagrams to explain how the gruesome instruments were used.
The tourist sector contributes over 2.2% of San Marino’s GDP, with approximately 2 million tourists visiting in a year. Be respectful when having photos taken with the guards, a smile will do, hand gestures/funny faces are not received well. It would be considered very offensive to call them “Italians” – not that they don’t like Italians, but they are just extremely proud of their independence.