Republic of San Marino
Located in southern Europe, it is an enclave surrounded by Italy. The official date of foundation of the Republic is 3 September AD 301.
Capital: San Marino
Area: 60 Km²
Climate: Mediterranean, with warm summers and mild winters
Time: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October)
Entry visas: ID or passport
By air: International airport Rimini - San Marino: bus service
By train: Train station in Rimini
By road: Highway A14 (Rimini sud), 22 km
By bus: Bus line 17 to Rimini
The Government Building stands today on the site of the ancient Building called Domus Magna Comunis, which was probably built at the end of the 14th century and, after being restored several times, was demolished at the end of the 19th century as it was falling into ruins.
The new Government Building, built between 1884 and 1894, was designed by the Roman architect Frencesco Azzurri, President of the Accademy of St. Luca in Rome, who, interpreting the expectations and tastes of San Marino authorities, reproduced the simple and austere style of the 13th - 14th century buildings of Italian city-states.
Restructuring works, in particular as regards stone parts, were entrusted to local workers headed by the master builder Giuseppe Reffi from San Marino, while pictorial decorations, wrought-iron manufactured items and furnishings were produced by foreign artisans specially chosen by Azzurri.
After a hundred years of life, the building, which had become inadequate for today’s safety and functionalism needs, underwent a complex restoration. The intervention was entrusted to the internationally renowned architect Gae Aulenti and concluded on 30 September 1996 with a solemn inauguration.
The building, where official State ceremonies take place, is the seat of the Republic’s main institutional and administrative bodies: the Captains Regent, the Great and General Council, the Council of the XII, the Congress of State.
White and airy, the façade is characterised by three large ogival windows and by the embattled clock tower.
On its surface of sandstone the coats of arms of some eminent Italian families are visible (Visconti, Montefeltro, etc.), while in the space between the arches of the portico are the coats of arms of the four Castles constituting the Republic’s ancient countryside: Serravalle, Fiorentino, Faetano and Montegiardino.
In the middle, between two large ogival windows, is a polygonal balcony from which, during a fascinating ceremony, the Captains Regent appointed for the following 6-month term are announced.
At the right corner is a beautiful bronze statuette of Founder Saint Marino, moulded in 1894 by Giulio Tadolini (Rome, 1849-1918), and, on the clock tower, a Murano mosaic triptych depicting Saints Leo, Quirino and Agata.
Under the portico, near the three huge entrance doors, is a marble bust in memory of architect Francesco Azzurri sculptured and donated by Giulio Tadolini.
Dominated by the great stone staircase leading to the balcony of the mezzanine floor and to the upper floors, the entrance hall is characterised by a sober and elegant style.
The high ceiling, with its beams in polychrome wood, and the decorative frieze running all around dampen the austerity of the stone walls and confer unity to the hall.
On the left wall is a huge sandstone baroque coat of arms of the Republic which used to decorate the façade of the old Government Building; on the right, under the great staircase, is a bronze bust of Giosuè Carducci by Tullo Golfarelli from Cesena, in memory of the eminent poet who, on 30 September 1894, made the inaugural speech for the new Building.
Besides the various memorial tablets dedicated to eminent San Marino citizens and foreign people, along the great staircase are two 16th century crossbows, the last remains of the original and fruitful local production.
The two doors opposite to the entrance lead to the Offices of the Institutional Secretariat and to the Hall of the Audiences, where the Captains Regent receive their important guests and periodically also San Marino citizens.
Mezzanine floor: This floor is located between the ground floor and the noble floor and is characterised by the balcony looking onto the entrance hall.
Near the door leading to the room now used as Press Room, a small tempera painting on the wall, based on the drawing by Francesco Azzurri, depicts the Republic’s liberation from occupation by Cardinal Giulio Alberoni, Papal Legate to Romagna, on 5 February 1740, day of St. Agata, who, since then, has become joint patron saint of the Republic.
In this painting, known as “Alberoni’s tablet”, Cardinal Alberoni is depicted as a huge threatening tree. Saint Agata, represented as a star, hits the tree with a ray of light, thus drying it and breaking the branch from which Cardinal Alberoni’s hat is hanging.
At the top of the staircase is the landing leading to the Hall of the Great and General Council and to the Hall of the Council of the XII.
Between the two doors of the Hall of the Great and General Council is the ceramic triptych, originally decorating the clock tower, realised in 1894 by the Roman ceramist Guglielmo Castellani on the drawing of San Marino artist Pietro Tonnini.
Because of the severe damage caused by environmental agents during the short period in which it adorned the façade of the Building, this triptych was removed from its place in 1922 and substituted with an identical one in mosaic, commissioned to a Murano specialised firm.
According to tradition, this work depicts Saints Leo, Marino and Agata, but its correct interpretation is called in question by the unusual clothing of Marino, dressed as a Roman soldier. More plausible seems a recent hypothesis, according to which the saint in the middle is Saint Quirino, designated as protector of the Republic in 1547. This hypothesis also seems confirmed by the fact that Saint Marino is nevertheless depicted on the façade of the Building in the beautiful bronze statue moulded by Giulio Tadolini.
HALL OF THE COUNCIL OF THE XII: The entrance door of this small representation hall in the 16th century style bears the inscription: “Animus in audiendo benignus” (Courtesy in audiences).
In this hall is one of the most beautiful and renowned images of Saint Marino. Here, the Saint is blessing his town, which he holds in his hands. Traditionally attributed to the Guercino, this painting has recently been ascribed to Bartolomeo Gennari (1594-1661), one of his pupils and collaborators.
HALL OF THE GREAT AND GENERAL COUNCIL: In this room, destined to the parliamentary activity of San Marino, are the seats of the 60 Parliamentarians (Councillors) and the throne of the Captains Regent, who preside over all sittings.
This hall is dominated by a large wall tempera by Emilio Retrosi (1894) representing Saint Marino who appears to his people.
The Saint is depicted at the foot of Mount Titano while leaving to San Marino people his legacy of freedom and independence. On his right are the two Captains Regent surrounded by the Republic’s notables and by some soldiers; on his left stand common people and representatives of the various corporations.
Works by some painters from Siena, such as Pietro Lolli, Giuseppe Rossi and Carlo Merlini, specially chosen by architect Azzurri, decorate the other walls of this hall.
Opposite to the Retrosi’s tempera is the public gallery with a beautiful allegoric image of the Republic in the middle. Underneath the gallery is a monumental stone fireplace bearing the cots of arms of the State and of the nine San Marino Castles sculptured by the San Marino artisan Marcello Reffi.
SCRUTINY ROOM: One can enter this small room, looking over Liberty Square, directly from the Hall of the Great and General Council. Here the counting of the votes for the appointment of the Captains Regent takes place every six months.
Its walls are decorated by two important 17th century paintings portraying Saint John the Baptist and Saint Marino as a stonecutter, traditionally attributed to Giovanni Lanfranco (1582-1647).
Piazza della libertà - phone 0549 885370
First tower: guaita
The First Tower (also called Rocca or Guaita) is the major and most ancient of the three towers overshadowing the City of San Marino.
The central donjon, former watch post and shelter of the early inhabitants of Mount Titano, dates back to the 11th century and is therefore one of the most ancient fortifications in Italy.
The First Tower is limited by two circles of defensive walls. The inner ones, adorned with merlons and braced on the corners with angular towers, subsequently lowered during the 16th century, belonged to the first wall circle (Guaita Wall Circle), which was built to defend the inhabited area. The inner walls, the most ancient ones, are characterised by a raised entrance and include the Bell Tower, the cells of the garrisons, subsequently used as prisons, and the donjon, the ancient watch post which was rebuilt during the second half of the 15th century.
Traces of subsequent restructurings are still visible: for example, a dagger sculptured on one of the ashlars near the bell tower and an inscription in gothic characters on the eastern tower have been recognised as symbols left by the Comacine Masters, who supervised the first restructuring in the 13th century, while the dates 1481 and 1475 engraved on the arch of the entrance door and on the lintel of a loophole respectively refer to the important restructuring works carried out in the last decades of the 15th century.
However, the numerous works, mainly in the 15th and 16th centuries, did not substantially alter the aspect of this defensive complex, which still remains austere and unadorned.
Thanks to the last restructuring around 1930, the First Tower was opened to the public.
The entrance dates back to the early 15th century and was built according to the engineering of that time. The front door was originally protected by a draw-bridge and the sliding grooves of the chains right above the door jamb are still visible.
In the large courtyard are some artillery pieces donated by King Vittorio Emanuele III in 1907 and used until recently by the Fortress Guard, one of the Republic’s uniformed corps, to fire salvoes during public ceremonies.
A small altar in the southern tower was once dedicated to St. Barbara, protector of artillerymen. Today’s church, located near the outer walls, on the left of the entrance to the tower, was built only in 1960.
The small building, characterised by a simple and plain structure, still preserves, on the door, a precious sculptured lunette coming from the ruins of a 13th century church located in the Castle of Domagnano. Inside the building, on the stone altar is the bronze image of St. Barbara with six tower-shaped candelabrums specially produced in 1979 by the sculptor Bino Bini from Florence.
Probably erected in the mid 1500s, San Marino people consider the Bell Tower a very important symbol.
During past centuries, its tolls used to call the inhabitants to defend their country every time it was in jeopardy; today the bell tolls on the occasion of the Republic’s most important civil and religious holidays.
From the Bell Tower one can see the whole city, overshadowed by the Government Building and the Basilica. In the background is a view of the Romagna Apennines and, on the closer mountains, of some strongholds, among which that of Verucchio, once belonging to the Malatestas of Rimini, historical enemies of San Marino.
With its pentagonal base, the ancient watch tower was rebuilt in the second half of the 15th century and since then has remained almost unchanged. Its weathered roof was built in the 16th century.
From here the panorama is fascinating. North east, the majestic walls of the Second Tower stand out in the blue sky. In the background is an impressive view of Mount Conero and of the fertile plain as far as the Adriatic coast. South, one can enjoy a view of the Apennine with Mount Carpegna.
Ancient feudal possession of the Dukes of Montefeltro, who have always been allies of San Marino, Mount Carpegna was an area of strategic importance for mutual defence, as well as an excellent observation post over the Marecchia Valley and other possessions of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
After having been the seat of various military institutions, some rooms of this fortress, once hosting the garrisons, were used as prisons from the second half of the 18th century till 1970.
However, only those who had to serve a prison sentence not exceeding six months were locked in these narrow cells, now hosting small temporary exhibitions. In case of longer prison sentences, condemned persons were transferred to Italian prisons.
Via Salita alla Rocca
phone 0549 991369
Second tower: Cesta
The Second Tower or Cesta stands on the highest point of Mount Titano, 755 meters above sea level. It is situated halfway along a panoramic path from which an impressive and breathtaking landscape can be admired and which, on top of the mountain, connects the three ancient towers of San Marino.
The original stronghold, as evidenced by the Latin etymology of the term Cesta, served as an observation post already in the Roman period and this Tower is mentioned, with the same name, in a document of 1253.
In 1320, a high outer wall was erected and the Tower connected to the fortifications of the second circle of walls. The Cesta maintained its functions up until the end of the 16th century.
The door giving access to the inner part of the fortalice was opened during the 16th century and the door jamb features the coat of arms of the Republic and the date 1596, year of its restructuring.
Although restored many times over the years, the donjon, with its pentagonal base, still preserves the characteristics of the medieval towers with embrasures and loopholes.
No longer in use since the 17th century, the fortalice underwent a significant and radical restructuring in 1924-25, which halted its degradation and restored the original aspect.
In 1956 the Tower became the seat of the Museum of Ancient Arms, where 700 exhibits of all types of ancient armours and weapons are now displayed.
Via Salita alla Cesta
phone 0549 991295
Third tower: Montale
Museum of ancient arms
The Museum displays part of the rich armoury collection acquired by the State between 1956 and 1972.
The exhibition route consists of four rooms and shows the development of “sidearms” and “firearms” with exhibits of great historical value ranging from armours, bills and halberds, wheel-lock, flintlock and fuse firearms to the experimental weapons of the 1800s transition and the breech-loading arms of the late 19th century
Via Salita alla Cesta
phone 0549 991295
Contemporary and modern art gallery
The State collection of Modern and Contemporary Art gathers about 750 works, ranging from the early decades of the 20th century to present time and divided up according to the various art disciplines: painting, drawing, water colour painting, sculpture, photography.
All works, acquired through donations or the “purchase prize” formula, purchased or directly commissioned to the artists, testify to the long activity of this institution in the field of contemporary art.
Besides the works of internationally renowned artists, such as Renato Guttuso, Corrado Cagli, Emilio Vedova, Achille Perilli, Enzo Mari, Enzo Cucchi, Sandro Chia, Gian Marco Montesano and Luigi Ontani, the collection also gathers the works of emerging artists, often less famous, who, nonetheless, give evidence to the great creativity of today’s multifaceted artistic production.
The collection is permanently on show in the Gallery of Via Eugippo in the historical centre of San Marino, though this seat is now undergoing restructuring.
Galleria di via Eugippo - Via Eugippo
phone 0549 883002 / 885414 - fax.0549 883003
St Francis' Museum
The collection is hosted in the loggias of the small 14th century cloister annexed to the ancient Franciscan monastery.
The excellent architectural complex was built in 1361 by the Comacine masters, as evidenced by an inscription in the entrance and by the symbols carved in some stone blocks of the west wall which are still visible from the adjacent street.
Over the centuries the complex was repeatedly restructured and only the outer walls have preserved their original characteristics. The interior of the church was completely restored in the late 1700s.
Officially opened in 1966, the Museum consists of a section dedicated to sacred arts and of a paint gallery. It displays the most significant exhibits of the rich artistic heritage of both the monastery and other Franciscan churches: panel paintings and canvases, a precious fresco from St. Francis’ Church, vestments, furnishings and paraments from the 14th to the 18th century, which testify to the presence of the friars and to their role in the evolution of the Republic’s arts and culture.
Two small halls annexed to the Museum host a collection of paintings and sculptures by Emilio Ambron dating back to the early 1900s and donated by the artist himself.
phone 0549 885132
CESARE * * * *
Salita alla Rocca, 7 - San Marino
Tel. 0549 992355 - Fax 0549 992630
GRAND HOTEL PRIMAVERA * * * *
Via L. Cibrario, 22 - Borgo Maggiore
Tel. 0549 902007 - Fax 0549 907434
GRAND HOTEL SAN MARINO * * * *
Viale Antonio Onofri, 31 - San Marino
Tel. 0549 992400 - Fax 0549 992951
LOCANDA DELL'ARTISTA * * * *
Via del Dragone, 18 - Montegiardino
Tel. & fax 0549 996024
TITANO * * * *
Contrada del Collegio, 31
Tel. 0549 991006 - Fax 0549 991375
CROCENZI * * *
Via Ventotto Luglio, 171 - Borgo Maggiore
Tel. 0549 902507 - Fax 0549 906581
DA ALFIO * * *
Via del Serrone, 100 - Murata
Tel. 0549 992180 - Fax 0549 913116
Via Tre Settembre, 65 - Dogana - Serravalle
Tel. 0549 905317 - Fax 0549 905326
GASPERONI * * *
Via Cinque Febbraio, 121 - Fiorina
Tel. 0549 900282 - Fax 0549 904306
HOSTARIA DA LINO * * *
Piazza Grande, 47 - Borgo Maggiore
Tel. 0549 902300 - Fax 0549 906630
HOTEL DEL SANTO ***
Via delle Felci, 3 - Valdragone, Borgo Maggiore
Tel. & fax 0549 903121 (6 linee r.a) -
Fax 0549 907595
JOLY SAN MARINO * * *
Viale Federico d'Urbino, 38 - San Marino
Tel. 0549 991008-991009 - Fax 0549 991009
LA GROTTA * * *
Contrada Santa Croce, 17 - San Marino
Tel. 0549 991214 - Fax 0549 992242
PANORAMIC * * *
Via del Voltone, 91 - San Marino
Tel. 0549 992359-991436 - Fax 0549 990356
QUERCIA ANTICA * * *
Via Capannaccia, 7 - San Marino
Tel. 0549 991257 - Fax 0549 990044
RIO RE * * *
Via Genghettino, 11 - Gualdicciolo
Tel. 0549 999216-999570 - Fax 0549 999449
ROSA * * *
Via Lapicidi Marini, 23 - San Marino
Tel. 0549 991961 - Fax 0549 992305
ROSSI * * *
Via Venticinque Marzo, 13 - San Marino
Tel. 0549 902263 - Fax 0549 906642
VILLA GIARDI * * *
Via Palamede Ferri, 22 - Murata
Tel. 0549 991074 - Fax 0549 992285
BELLAVISTA * *
Contrada del Pianello, 42-44 - San Marino
Tel. & fax 0549 991212
LA ROCCA * *
Salita alla Rocca, 34 - San Marino
Tel. 0549 991166 - Fax 0549 992430
Via Cinque Febbraio, 139 - Fiorina
Tel. 0549 900642-901550 - Fax 0549 901550
Contrada del Collegio, 50 - San Marino
Tel. & fax 0549 991003
Via Erviano, 6 - Murata
Tel. 0549 991171 - Fax 0549 990468
Via del Voltone, 20-22 - San Marino
Tel. 0549 992709 - Fax 0549 992458
Via del Serrone, 17 - Murata
Tel. 0549 992815 - Fax 0549 913137
Strada Fontescara, 46 - Chiesanuova
Tel. 0549 998029-998160