Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles The republic of San Marino lies in central Italy, less than an hour’s drive from the warm sands of the Adriatic Coast. With an area of just over 40 square miles, this country is Europe’s third smallest, after Vatican City and Monaco. Rising dramatically from the republic’s rolling hills and farmlands, is Mount Titano. It was here that the country’s founder, Saint Marinus, sought refuge from religious persecution in the 3rd Century. Over the centuries, three towers were built to ward off those who would challenge its independence and freedom. Today these towers watch over a country overflowing with history, culture and beauty. Just beyond the cliff-top towers lies the republic’s ancient capital, which is also called San Marino. Whether you take the winding drive, or ride the cable car, once at the top, you’ll find yourself in another time, another state of mind. San Marino City’s historic center has received world heritage status, and as you wander the narrow streets it’s easy to see why. San Marino is the world’s oldest constitutional republic. High above the world of endless change, this is a place that holds proudly to its past. The heart and soul of this republic is Liberty Square. Here stands San Marino’s very own Statue of Liberty, and its town hall, the Palazzo Pubblico. Time your visit to catch the changing of the guard, which takes place every hour in summer. Once inside, look for the bust of Abraham Lincoln, who saw the values of this republic as a beacon of hope during the dark days of the American Civil War. Step inside the Council Hall, where a painting of Saint Marinus watches over those who guide the country into tomorrow. Wherever you turn you’ll see tributes to the republic’s founder, no more so than in San Marino Basilica, where the bones of this simple stonecutter now rest beneath the altar. Like the republic’s founder Saint Marinus, many have sought refuge on this mountain, including the Italian revolutionary hero, Garibaldi. In 1849 the general and his followers took advantage of the republic’s hospitality to elude capture by pursuing armies. Today, San Marino is a welcoming escape for lovers of art and history too. Discover centuries of firepower in the Museum of Ancient Arms, and more whimsical exhibits at the Museum of Curiosities. Stand before the sacred artworks of the St Francis Museum, then explore the priceless treasures of the State Museum. The republic is also a tax-free haven for shoppers. You’ll find all the luxury brands here, as well as more traditional offerings. San Marino’s coins and stamps are sought after by collectors all over the world. But for a souvenir that is truly unique, have your passport stamped in the state tourist office. But of course the true stars of San Marino are its towers. Dating back to the 11th century, Guaita Tower, is the oldest and the largest fortress of the three. Admire the adjacent bell tower that once warned of impending attack, but which today unites San Marino’s citizens in times of celebration. Follow the scenic pathway to the highest point of Mount Titano. Here, half a mile above sea level, rise the battlements of Cesta Tower. Standing like a lonely sentinel on Titano’s farthest peak, is Montale, the smallest of the towers. Although the tower itself is now closed, its remoteness means you’ll enjoy the mountain’s cool air without the crowds. What this country lacks in size, it more than makes up for with that rarest of qualities, serenity. After all, its official name is, The Most Serene Republic of San Marino. To experience this sense of peace, don’t just come for a daytrip, escape into the heavens for a night or two. For after the tour buses have returned to the busy world below, a stillness descends. And in that stillness you’ll feel something which has kept San Marino’s light burning brightly across the ages ~ freedom.