OK, it was only for a few hours, but we definitely left the country of Italy and spent the day wandering about The Most Serene Republic of San Marino.
More info on the Republic of San Marino here: LINK
We left early from Modena and got there two hours later, driving on mostly autostrada conditions with a bit of twisty roads at the end as we "entered" the sovereign borders of San Marino.
For me, the attraction were the two main castles built on the ridge line which forms one side of the town of San Marino's castle wall foundations. San Marino, the country and its capital share the same name. Rather a cool country in my opinion. It was basically built on top of Monte Titano.
Due to where we parked, we started off the tour with the second castle that was built, Cesta, it offers view of both the Guaita and Montale fortresses.
as well as the one below
We traveled down the narrow pass between the second and first castle, pausing for pictures along the way of course.
rode up on his 1200 GS motorcycle, much better than walking!
back at the Cesta fortress
of small cannons were on display
museum pieces as they fooled around them.
Martha in the courtyard, she declined to climb all the
way up the tower.
quite steep, and the last three steps are really rungs,
it's a tight fit.
of San Marino
before the changing of the guard.
After the changing of the guard ceremony, which I wasn't able to photograph due to the crowds, we went into the Public Palazzo which also serves as the seat of San Marino's government. We found their official chamber where the elected representatives meet and create laws, under the eyes of the two Captains Regents who are elected every six months.
The chamber wasn't in use and no signs specifically forbid us sitting in the seats so with Martha in the lead, we took pictures while sitting where the Captains Regents would sit while in official session.
There were cameras guarding the chamber I saw, and no one came to chase us out so I figure it was OK. Still, we left with no delay.
Outside the government chambers were these paintings of the patron saints of San Marino.
We continued meandering through the town and finally it was time for some lunch. I only show one food porn shot though, the Pizza Diavola I ordered. It was quite yummy.
After everyone had lunch, and Martha and I were soothed by 3/4 Liter of red wine, we meandered some more, this time checking out the basilica:
One thing we'd noticed was the plethora of shops trying to get you to buy jewelry, leather goods and what looked like hunting/target pistols and rifles. Oh, knives and swords too were for sale as well. Turns out, since San Marino is not part of Italy but a sovereign nation, one can go there and buy items that are tax free and/or not available readily in Italy due to laws!
at first, but then we got used to it.
Thought the Museum of Torture was very small, it's still
very nicely put together and worth a visit if you're in country.
I bet people wouldn't crowd me anymore if I wore this get up.
We did try for San Marino stamps on our passports but the office that does that was closed when we found it. We also passed on San Marino stamps and coinage I'm afraid.
Rainy weather moved in shortly after we left the Torture Museum and so after a quick espresso, we left for Modena and the hotel. Traffic was very heavy on the Autostradas on the way back, with several periods where traffic actually cam to a stand still. No evidence of accidents, just too many cars I guess.
that now functions as part of the hotel. It's where we are staying.