Alright everyone! We’re back with another week full of our family’s bucket list destinations, and we decided on an interesting theme than can be applied again to other continents in the future…..We’re going to write about the things we want to do in the smallest countries in Europe! I don’t know how we came up with it, but I got to thinking the other day: Most of the places I’ve written about are considered tourist destinations. Like, it wouldn’t be uncommon for someone to suggest a visit to those places (maybe Lima and Medellín). However, I thought it would be interesting to visit the smallest countries in Europe because they aren’t necessarily considered to be super touristy places. For this theme, we didn’t count Holy See, which technically is the smallest country with a population of just over 800. I talked about this in my post about Rome, so we didn’t feel it necessary to go over it again. As the title suggests, our first country is San Marino, coming in with a population of just under 34,000, and also considered the world’s oldest sovereign state. I did find it fascinating that Italy has two recognized countries that are landlocked within Italy itself (Vatican City/Holy See and San Marino)! Anyways, let’s talk about what we would do on a trip to San Marino!
First: Rocca Guaita
Rocca Guaita is a fortress that sits on the hill of the capital city, San Marino (anyone else think it’s strange when a country’s capital city has the same name?) This fortress was built in the 11th century (my history nerd senses are tingling) as a prison, and while it takes quite a bit of stair climbing to get to it, one looks at its amazing panoramic views tells me all I need to know about its beauty. So, we’ll definitely go see this beautiful fortress, but we’ll make sure to have a pair of shorts and some sturdy shoes to get there 🙂
Next: Palazzo Pubblico
This is the official government building, the town hall, and is located on the city square, known as Piazza della Libertà. During the day, there is an official “changing of the guard,” which is an extremely popular ceremony to watch for visitors! (Let me also tell you that my architectural nerd senses are popping off right now as well)
Last: Museo di Stato
You knew a museum was coming, didn’t you? As the national museum of San Marino, this houses over 5,000 works of art and archaeological finds dating back to the 1600s. As several websites I’ve researched have pointed out, a lot of the art was received as a donation from governments surrounding San Marino to show admiration for the Republic. Not that that’s a bad thing, but some of the language portraying this act made it sound like a big brother telling a little brother, “Here ya go little guy, I’ll let you have this.” I could be completely wrong about that! That’s just the sentiment I got.
While I’ve found that the food in San Marino is essentially the same as that of Italy, I did find a few dishes that seem to be more popular in this region! Here are the three dishes I’d like to try 🙂
- Fagioli con le Cotiche
- This is a simple bean and bacon soup, and let’s be honest, what else do we need to hear other than bacon (side question: anyone that’s not from the States, is bacon as wildly popular in your country as it is here?)
- Nidi di Rondine
- I’ve seen a few different interpretations of this dish, but the one I find most commonly is mini pasta sheets that are stuffed and rolled with ham or beef and cheese, covered in parmesan and baked until golden brown. Yeah, my mouthe watered slightly too.
- Torta Tre Monti
- A traditional dessert dish in San Marino, this is representative of the three fortresses that sit on top of the of the city’s capital. The basic construct is layers of wafer, cemented together with either chocolate or hazelnut cream, and covered in chocolate fondant. Can I have 5, please?
Alright friends, that’s all I have for the small country of San Marino! Come back tomorrow for a look at my top 3 things I would do in Liechtenstein!