A castle standing proud on rocks. A bunch of torture instruments and certainty to be located far above the clouds : San Marino is one of the smallest countries in the world. And a charming destination for a daytrip.
We asked to get dropped in Borgo Maggiore to have a quick look at the old town. We had spend the night in a hostel in town. From the town of San Marino there was hardly anything to be seen in this August morning. The Monte Titano, the mountain the town was perched on, lay in a dense fog. In the morning we were told that a funicular runs up the hill into the city. During the brief tour an old San Marinese starts talking to us. He is accompanied by a younger lady who we first assume to be his daughter. He doesn’t get over how beautiful my girlfriend is. The only thing I understand is „Bella, bella“. His company turns out to his nurse, who is from Russia. Only by talking to her I finally get what he says. He thinks I should marry her soon, otherwise he would find a place for Franzi in San Marino. I prefer to nos, because Franzi doesn’t wanna stay. As we say goodbye to head towards the funicular, the old man pulls his hat and gives her a hand kiss. A true cavaleer.
As the funicular leaves the ground we disappear into the fog. On the mountain, a thought come to my mind: San Marino – this is a state created for an element – the air. If you stand on one of the towers, look down and several hundred feet below the clouds float, although you have solid ground under your feet, it feels like flying anyway. Even leaning over the railing, the clouds stream into your skin. Whoever reaches out is a real skyscraper. If you ever want to experience a proper storm then it would be up here. You can almost hear the window shutters bump against the medieval stone walls and how the wind can make the roof creak.
Sometimes the cloud fogs only stream over the tower tops. The sun shines through the gray. It seems like a solar eclipse. It fits to San Marino being home to a vampire and a werewolf Museum. In the small fortress state they cherish a great love for both medieval weapons, as well as instruments of torture throughout the centuries.
When we arrive at the next tower, the sky is brightens up suddenly and the valley of the lower San Marino and the Italian Adriatic coast lies at our feet. On the horizon Rimini, an Italian coastal town appears. It reminds me of bathing scenes from the Italy of the nineteen twenties. Thomas Mann has described in „Mario and the Magician“ so catchy.
The oldest republic in the world – over an area of nearly 62 square kilometers and with a little more than 30,000 inhabitants – barely more than my native town of Eisleben – and yet people here are proud so much at their independence. Flags of the Republic wave everywhere. The guard exchange in front of the palace is still one of the daily rituals – just like in Monaco. Everywhere San Marino Euro coins and stamps are offered waiting to be bought by a Russian, German, French or English speaking tourist. Rarely you can escape the tourist crowds . But if so, you can feel for a moment the clouds streaming directly over your head. Although San Marino is another microstate in my list. It gets a place of honor with the title „state where one is closest to the sky“.