Sunday, June 8, 2008

Repubblica di San Marino

Repubblica di San Marino Crest

Flag of the Repubblica di San Marino

Our trip to Bologna to play the Doves last Saturday night afforded me a chance to do a little traveling in northern Italy. Instead of returning to Catania with the team on Sunday morning I decided to stay behind and return to Malibu on Monday afternoon.

The Smart Car

First I had to rent a car at the Forli airport about 100 yards from our hotel location. They offered me an even lower rate than the one I agreed to on the internet if I rented a Smart Car, I'm not dumb so I accepted their gracious offer.

If you have never seen one of these cars in America then you need to know that they are VERY popular in Europe. They are so short that if you parked head in a parallel parking only space, you would still be parked legally even by American standards. They also have a very funky clutchless manual gear shifting system. I look really good in it I am told.

The Repubblica di San Marino

I headed southeast towards the seaside town of Rimini to the Repubblica di San Marino about 45 minutes from the Forli airport.

Why, you ask, did I want to visit the world's oldest and smallest republic? Simple, In 1951 our family moved to the town of San Marino, California. We moved into a second, bigger San Marino house in 1958 when my two younger sisters, Marilyn and Linda, showed up on the scene. My mother still lives in that house to this day. I knew growing up that our town had been named after this Repubblica, although I don't know why the founding fathers opted to name our town San Marino. I always wanted to visit San Marino and this was my chance.

Growing up in San Marino, California I attended K.L. Carver Elementary School.  At the age of 5, my kindergarten class was held at the old site that the next year would be turned into San Marino High School. In 1958 I got interested in American football for he first time and my mother would drive me and 2 or 3 other 11 year olds to watch the local high school's run to the C.I.F. Finals where they would break our hearts by losing. My first three football heroes were a pair of twin linemen on that team, Newt and Cecil Withers, and of course the QB, #12, Bill Reddell. Bill was the C.I.F. Player-of-the-Year in 1958 and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame for his exploits at Occidental College. Bill is now the somewhat controversial Head Football Coach at powerhouse Oaks Christian H.S.

I don't have a clue as to what ever happened to the twins.

When San Marino H.S. was founded in 1953, they picked blue and white for school colors, the same as the Repubblica.

For a nickname they opted for Titans, a name that at that time no one else used to my knowledge until the 1960 New York Titans, now the Jets, debuted in the old American Football League. There is a Mount Titan in the Repubblica.

The schools crest, as well as the cities, shows the three castles of the Repubblica and is an exact copy of the Repubblica's crest.


This archway greets you as you enter the tiny, hilltop country.

Church of San Marino

Who else would the patron saint of the Repubblica be?

Hilltop Panoramas

The historic center of this country that is completely landlocked by Italy consists of three ancient castles perched high on cliffs of sheer rock rising out of the flatlands of Romagna. The 3,300 foot high precipices can make you queasy if you have a touch of vertigo.
Lunch on the Edge

I had a nice pizza for lunch at this cliffside ristrorante. It rained today and San Marino was in the clouds, so our views were a little obscured but still breathtaking.

Rocca della Guaita

The first of the three castles was small but well kept and offered me some great views.

The beautiful garden at Rocca della Guaita.

Rocca della Cesta in the distance through the fog.


The ancients liked to picnic in the back yard.

Great view from Rocca della Cesta.

The view back at Rocca della Guaita.

The third castle, Rocca Montale is closed to the public.

The San Marino Parliament Building Guards

Discussing innovative SWAT Team tactics no doubt.

San Marino's small Parliament meets in this ornate salon of the Palazzo Pubblico in the Piazza della Liberta'.  

The fountain at the end of this walk was built and donated as a gift by the people of America.

All in all it was a great visit that made me appreciate my home town a little more. If you are ever in the Bologna area I recommend the drive to visit the Repubblica for the views if nothing else.


DPLassen said...

You sure those are guards, and not the San Marino marching band, looking for their instruments?

So how was the Smart to drive? No Fiat Cinquecento, I bet.

George said...

The Smart Car was GREAT to drive. I heard a rumor two years ago when we cruised the Mediterranean Sea that the creator of the Smart Car was 6'6" tall and built it to accommodate himself. He did a good job because it was the roomiest car for the driver that I have used so far in 6 months of driving very offensively. Luggage room on the other hand IS an issue.

As I said in the blog, the no clutch manual transmission took a little getting used to. Maybe someone should have explained how it worked to the renter first, just a thought.

I'm still waiting for my first shot at driving an old, NOT NEW, Fiat Cinquecento. Time is running out.