Thursday, 28th August

This morning the view across San Marino from our hotel room was non-existent as the fog was so dense!

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We had a reasonable amount of distance to travel today so decided to leave San Marino, avoid highways and take our time. What resulted is something we will always laugh about but it was also a big lesson to not trust the in-car navigation system!

We were enjoying a beautiful drive for a couple of hours until we reached a turn that would send us down an unsealed road. It looked to be in pretty good condition and it was wide enough – we’ll give it a go we said…. Well about half way through the road narrowed, the road deteriorated and pretty soon we were off roading! We couldn’t turn back – there was no room for that and as we negotiated a particularly large crevice in the road, we paused near the gate of a property where a particularly nasty looking guard dog paced the fence daring us to get out. In fact, he looked like he was measuring up ready to jump the fence and attempt entry to the car via Bec’s window. Ok so he probably wasn’t, but it made the experience more hilarious as not only were we negotiating a terrible road but now we were in danger of being mauled by dogs 🙂

Finally we saw a clearing and as we turned the corner to join the never to be taken for granted again asphalt, we got our first glimpse of our destination – Assisi.

IMG_8769Assisi is an old walled city much like San Marino but on a much larger scale and also much older.

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It’s well known that Assisi was the birth place of St Francis, the main church the Basilica of San Francesco is the main attraction. Its construction began shortly after his canonisation and completed in 1253.

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Inside the Basilica is just beautiful and full of history, unfortunately photos are forbidden, but Bec really wanted pictures for her Mum so she sneakily took some with her iPhone.

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Assisi is challenging to walk around, it’s all up and down steep hills, we were very happy that we had made arrangements to stay in the city overnight so we didn’t have far to go at the end of the day. Another bonus of this arrangement was that we could sit and relax and watch the sunset over the church.

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There were other beautiful buildings including the Roman Temple of Minerva in the Piazza del Comune.

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And another absolutely gorgeous church the Cathedral of San Rufino.

IMG_8839 IMG_8825   IMG_8841 IMG_8844We finished the day with some fantastic red wine and pasta – when in .. Assisi right 🙂

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2014 European Adventure Italy San Marino

Wednesday, 27th August

Today we left beautiful Venice and made our way to San Marino, a destination to be honest we hadn’t done a lot of research about.

This lack of local knowledge contributed to the treasure hunt/confusion we experienced getting into the city 🙂 For a start, we didn’t realise that it’s actually its own country, known as the Republic of San Marino, secondly it’s a walled city and very small, so small that the police manage a traffic overflow system as it gets quite busy.

As we happily drove along with only 5 minutes to our destination flashing on the GPS we were turned away from the first roundabout, well just a diversion we thought, until at the second roundabout we were given a flyer (all in Italian) by the policelady and waved on to ‘park car’… Ok… Well going with the flow and seeing as how everyone else seemed pretty calm we parked the car and then followed the crowd. Turns out we had to pay 2 Euro each to get on the bus that would take us into San Marino and that was the fee for parking our car all day as well – excellent! Only problem being, our hotel was in the city 🙂

We got into the city and found our hotel very quickly, as it was only 200m from the bus stop. After chatting with the hotel staff we were told to leave our car where it was, enjoy the day and after everyone went home later in the evening the top car park would be free.

It was all pretty easy in hindsight, but what a funny start to our day!

The old city of San Marino is quite beautiful, perched on the top of the mountain Monte Titano it looks like a cross between a medieval town and a fairytale castle. The Palazzo Pubblico (The People’s Palace) was a huge space and the buildings were equally massive. It’s a funny little city, a cross between old tradition and a modern tourist driven market place.

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The Basilica Di San Marino was modest from the outside and it’s simplistic interior was impressive and unique.

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The view from the top of the castle was breathtaking and you could see the mountains and landscape for miles and miles.

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Our hotel room whilst basic had million dollar views over the mountains and the town below.

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As the sun went down the view only became more impressive with the mountains providing a perfect backdrop to the town lights.

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2014 European Adventure San Marino