Why Wales? Entry #10: The Italian Adventure “Days 4-6”
Day 4 March 23, 2010
Piacenza & Venice
We had a short morning at Miriam and Lorenzo’s with some dilicious italian bread and coffee. After that Miriam rushed us to the train station to head back to Venice for another night. Our first train ended up being late, which delayed most of our day- but it was nice to relax a bit more on the train.
We arrived in Venice by 3pm, and the sun was shining. We were so glad that it was so nice out, because the first day we were there it was rather gray outside. The city is beautiful regardless, but it is magical when the sun is shining. We headed back to the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square to take sunny pictures.
We enjoyed delicious paninis in the square after the sun went down. Venice is beautiful at night!
We finished off the night with gelato and took some pastries back to the hotel.
Day 5 March 24, 2010
Goodbye Venice, Hello San Marino!
We checked out of our beautiful hotel and said goodbye to Venice. We were very excited about San Marino because we really didn’t know what to expect.
San Marino is a very small country, inside of Italy. The city of San Marino, which is also the capital of San Marino is at the top (very top) of a mountain.
The Most Serene Republic of San Marino (pronounced /ˌsæn məˈriːnəʊ/ ( listen) SAN-mə-REE-noh; Italian: Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino) is a country situated in the Apennine Mountains. It is a landlocked enclave, completely surrounded by Italy. Its size is just over 61 km2 (24 sq mi) with an estimated population of almost 30,000. Its capital is the City of San Marino. One of the European microstates along with Liechtenstein, the Vatican, Monaco, Andorra, and Malta, San Marino has the smallest population of all the members of the Council of Europe.
We took the train from Venice Mestre Station to Rimini, a small town outside of San Marino. We then took a bus ride 45 minutes UP HILL! It was amazing, because we had no idea how high up we were going, and we just kept going up. Our ears actually popped while riding up the hill. The views were absolutely breathtaking, and we were so excited to start our adventures.
The bus dropped us off, and we looked in some gift shops and figured out how to get to our hostel. This is where we figured out that the people of San Marino do not speak any English. Luckily, my good friend Marissa spoke Italian fairly well! I was glad to have her there!
The shopkeeper actually called our hotel, and arranged for the hotel owner to come pick us up. The hotel was not far away, but the shopkeeper thought it would be nice, since we had our luggage and all. We were already impressed with the people and the views of San Marino. At first, we thought the shopkeeper called a taxi for us- but the hotel owner came to pick us up. 🙂
We headed to our hotel, which was a beautiful blue building- and had a magnificent view from the mountain from our balcony.
After getting settled in our room, we walked further up the mountain for some delicious pizza and gelato.
We hit the hay early to have a full day enjoying San Marino the next day.
Day 6 March 25, 2010
Our day started off with the hotel’s complimentary breakfast. The man helping us was so nice and so hospitable- we later figured out that he was Mario’s father; Mario was the owner/manager who picked us up the night before. This family run business was making our first impressions of San Marino even better.
It’s so interesting how much one can communicate without knowing the language. Although Marissa knew some Italian, both parties had to really work hard at understanding spoken language as well as body language and context clues. Often througout our trip, I was able to understand a lot without really knowing what they were saying. It’s remarkable how much we communicate non-orally.
We set out for the day, up the mountain. We stopped at a gift shop and bought some awesome mideval souvenirs and continued to the Museum of Curiosities. This museum was fairly similar to the Ripley’s Beleive it or Not Museum; it included facts about the tallest man, shortest woman, longest beard, etc. It was very interesting (and curious!) to walk through.
We had lunch at a cafe on the edge of the cliff.
View from the cafe.
After lunch, we headed up to the 3 towers of San Marino. Tower 2 included a museum of ancient arms inside. It amazing to see the towers, as well as the views from the tops of the towers. We wandered a random path, which led us to a huge pile of snow (since it’s so high up, the nights get very cold and the snow doesn’t melt as fast). After some more gelato, we went back to the hotel to relax for a bit. We decided to go down the mountain for dinner. This area was a lot less touristy. The place we chose was empty when we got there, but by the time we ordered- it was packed! We had more pizza and some tartufo for dessert.
Looking back, San Marino is most likely my favorite place I have been on the Italian trip. It was so unique and beautiful that I felt as if I found a hidden gem of Europe. San Marino was in the perfect location for a half way point from Venice to Rome; we never expected it to be so beautiful and comfortable!
The next day we were excited not only because we were heading to Rome, but we would be meeting up with our friends: Maggie and Justine!