Tuesday, 14 October 2008

San Marino – the oldest country in the world

Possibly because it’s too small and insignificant for anyone to worry about invading, the tiny Republic of San Marino has been in existence since AD301.
Surprisingly, this makes the 61 km² state, entirely landlocked by Italy, the oldest country in the world.
Whilst other nations have been busy invading each other, changing names and having revolutions, sleepy San Marino has stood by and watched, untroubled.
It doesn’t have an airport or railway station (try nearby Rimini in Italy for that), and shopping is the main attraction for the three million tourists that visit every year. This is largely because items are not subject to the 20% sales tax imposed by Italian law, but novelty collectables such as stamps and coin sets are also big earners.
However, it’s not all souvenirs and duty free shopping, with the three mountain fortresses overlooking the Adriatic coast providing views that far bigger nations would be insanely jealous of.

Getting to San Marino

Nearest International Airport: Rimini in Italy is the closest, although Bologna is not far away and that gets more flights.

Using public transport:
Buses go reasonably regularly from outside Rimini’s train station.

More information: San Marino tourism

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