According to historical tradition, the ancient Republic of San Marino was founded by a Dalmatian stonecutter called Marino, whom Diocletian had entrusted with the task of restoring the walls of the town of Rimini. Marino, and his colleague and close friend Leo, were Christians and to escape the persecutions enforced by the Emperor they took shelter on two nearby hills, Mount Feretrio and Mount Titano respectively. A 10th century manuscript recalls Marino as the “libertatis fundator” of this tiny republic that covers only 61 square kilometres.
Typical cuisine: in popular tourist destinations like San Marino, so-called international dishes that satisfy all tastes often replace traditional cuisine. However, on Mount Titano it is still possible to find dishes that offer the real flavour of Romagna, including cassoni (folded and filled piadina), tagliatelle (pasta) and roast meats. Desserts include a traditional cake called “Tre Monti”, which is firm yet deliciously crumbly too, as well as “caciatello”, made from milk, sugar, eggs and lemon, and “bustrengo”.
Wines: the Republic of San Marino, which is so close to the region of Romagna, produces a huge range of red, white and sparkling wines. White wines include Biancame and Ribolla, which are both fresh and light, whereas red wines are made using the Sangiovese grape above all and include Brugneto di San Marino. Brugneto is a great wine that is at its best in the Reserve version. Moscato or Muscatel, usually served as a dessert wine, is a sparkling, sweet wine similar to Asti Spumante. All these wines are sold and promoted by the Consortium of Traditional Wines from San Marino and the “Identification of Origin” brand safeguards and promotes wine-production in San Marino.
Things to buy and souvenirs: if you wish to buy jewellery or embossed silver, simply head to any one of the numerous specialist shops in San Marino. The Independent State Numismatics and Philately Company on the other hand, sells coins and stamps for collectors. Coins are divided into ordinary, which can also be used in Italy, silver, commemorative only and gold, which are minted in scudo and can only be used in San Marino.
Nearby: the Republic of San Marino is divided into nine “castelli” or castles. The first of these is Castello di Città, which is the oldest part of the republic and stands on the top of Mount Titano. From the castle of Serravalle it is possible to climb to the fortress and in Borgomaggiore, there is a sanctuary designed by the famous architect Michelucci. In fact, there is something interesting to see and ancient remains in all of the castles. For example, a castle, built partly on the remains of a Malatesta fortress, has recently been restored in Montegiardino.
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