One of the smallest countries in the world, San Marino is a 61 square kilometer mini region surrounded by north-central Italy. According to new data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), this cliffside country, consisting of a population of 33,562, is gradually becoming one of Europe’s fastest growing destination. The picturesque place saw a 31.1 per cent growth in tourism last year with almost 78,000 tourists visiting here between 2016-17.
A three-hour drive from Florence, San Marino is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has plenty to offer to its visitors. From the well-preserved collection of medieval architecture to citadels dating back to the 11th century, this place is a travellers paradise with the scenic sea and the vast greenery surrounding it.
According to history, San Marino was founded in AD 301, when Marinus, a Christian stonemason emigrated in AD 297 from Dalmatian island of Rab, when Emperor Diocletian issued a decree calling for the reconstruction of the city walls of Rimini, destroyed by Liburnian pirates. After the Diocletianic Persecution, following Marinus’ Christian sermons, he escaped to the nearby Monte Titano, wherein he built a small church, which later came to be known as the city of San Marino.
Some of the major tourist attractions of this mini place include Museo di Stato, which is the National Museum and was built way back in 1899. Situated in the Palazzo Pergami Belluzzi, the Museum features a vast collection of historical artifacts from the Middle Ages. San Marino also has three fortresses, the oldest of which is Rocca Guaita that dates back to the 10th century.