So there I was all breathless and ready to climb tower number two which looks to all effects like tower number three, seen here, at the top of the Republic of San Marino.
I had to pause in the bottom room waiting for a Dutch tourist to lower his child through the trap door. No concessions are made here for pantywaist tourists.
However not many people made the effort to climb to the top so I had time to arrange a self portrait at the top of the first flight of stairs. Kilroy wuz here.
Up three more flights of heavy wooden stairs and I was at the top peering out through port hole-like windows at the city below.
That was the courtyard at the base of the tower.
The watchtower itself was touched up in the 1950's according to the literature but the was mention of a guard tower here in 1253. It makes the Conch Republic seem rather fresh and new, considering Key West was founded in 1828...
The views with the incoming storm were tremendous.
Soon enough we had spent our three Euros well enough we were ready to leave the tower and amble down the hill to look for refreshment.
We found a terrace perched on the hillside as everything must be on this narrow strip of rock and we ordered beer.
It turns out the Republic has it's own micro-brewery in Serravalle where they turn out a lager, a white beer which we had, a red ale and a strong ale which would be too hoppy for us weaklings.
Titanbrau is named for Monte Titano on which we sat, the symbol of the Republic and the German suffix gives it authenticity as Italians, and Sammarinesi apparently, believe only Germans know how to brew beer.
We took the funicular back to the car and drove out e back road round the mountain toward Urbino in the Marche Region.
The only street or road sign I saw in San Marino that was any different from those in Italy was this one, which I thought denoted a tight turn rather louder than the black and white chevrons used in Italy.
In about fifteen minutes we said goodbye to the ancient land of liberty simply by passing under this arch and we were back in the land of bumpy roads and good food.
The other thing you notice immediately in Italy is how much land there is and how open it all is. With 30,000 people and a living to earn San Marino seems forced to make as much use as possible of every square inch. Italy looks wide open south of San Marino:
For all that Italy is an overcrowded peninsula of 60 million, there is still lots of open space. From this perspective it is possible to see how impossible it would have been to take an alert San Marino by storm.
We had miles to drive across a darkening landscape to Terni three or more hours away across winding country roads.
Our next stop intended as a brief break was in Urbino, a city of such great beauty it is hard to recommend San Marino as a beauty stop by comparison.
Unless like us, you enjoy the quirks of human history as represented by the micro states of Europe.
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