Monday, July 11, 2022

Country #99: San Marino!

Well we only had one full day in Venice but we hit all the sights hard and leave with no regrets.

We grabbed another water taxi back to the airport.

I wore my new pizza shirt so the locals would all know I'm Italian too.

From the airport we rented a car

I was excited to get something exotic and European so I was very amused when they showed me to the Ford I'd be driving.

We stopped at a gas station for snacks and they had humorously large packages of snacks that I needed to buy for my large road trip snack hunger.

This San Pellegrino is nice and bitter, flavored with the same chinotto citrus fruit as Campari.

This is primarily an Italian adventure but my thirst for new countries is always present. Luckily there's a tiny country I haven't been to in this neck of the woods.

San Marino is a quirky little country. It was founded in 301 and is the oldest existing sovereign state as well as the oldest constitutional republic. Another weird situation is their government has two heads of state that serve at the same time, and new elections occur every six months.

It was Napoleon who ended the sovereignty of Venice, but somehow the rulers of San Marino became such besties with the general that not only did he promise to leave the country alone, but he offered to extend their territory if they wished.

The leaders of San Marino again used whatever voodoo they possess to befriend Giuseppe Garibaldi, who later unified Italy but again promised to leave the tiny country independent. Quite an unlikely story of survival!

The shops in San Marino were very tourist trappy and full of all sorts of junk. Small countries like this are sometimes kind of fancy, full of duty free shops and tax shelter banks. This was more fake samurai swords and tshirts with cusswords on them. It's also a very mountainous place so the walk to the hotel with the luggage was serious. 

There was some changing of the guard fancy soldier stuff that always seemed to be happening.

We took a look at their little national museum. It was here that I first began to understand the country's obsession with their three towers.

Hiking between the three towers in the hot sun, we realized the real reason Garibaldi didn't force San Marino to join Italy:
"Too many stairs to conquer. Too many stairs dog, you don’t have to be part of Italy if you don’t want to." 

There was a good view of the cramped little parking lot where our ride was waiting.

The wax museum near our hotel featured all your favorite personalities: Hitler, Mussolini 

Lincoln about to get popped in the head

And everyone's favorite boy band: Ben Franklin, Beethoven, Einstein, and Rasputin

We hit La Terrazza for some dinner.

I was excited to see that San Marino had enough land to make a little wine.

Even the wine label had the three little towers on it.

Rustic platter
Selection of choice cold cuts by Zavoli Farm: culatta ham, capocollo cured in early-crop hay, citrus cured pork loin, salami cured in ash, wedges of homemade piada and cascioncini (small piada parcels) filled with chard.

Green cappellacci, filled with local lemon-flavoured ricotta, served with cherry tomatoes and basil.

Sliced sirloin steak with coarse salt and rosemary.

Our "Cremeria del Titano" artisan gelato.

The place had a killer view which became more apparent as the sun set.

It may be my 99th country visited, but San Marino still had some excitement for me.

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