San Marino is not a town in Italy, as is sometimes assumed. It is in fact one of the smallest sovereign nations on Earth. And it has been, in one form or another, since about 300 A.D. one of the main reasons for this can be seen here.
After a long, long haul up the mountain to San Marino (which is also the name of the main city of the country), our bus driver performed one of his usual almost impossible feats of parking and we walked up to the hotel. Yes, somehow everything seems to be uphill in San Marino which is why we left the bags behind on the bus and just carried what we needed for overnight. Unfortunately that memo didn't get to one of our band who was expecting the bags to arrive at the hotel in the same way as they had at all of our other stops. I encountered him at the hotel reception. His English was quite good but not great, the receptionist's was better but also not great, so I was the meat in the sandwich when he was asking her where the bags were and I had to explain that they weren't coming and why.
After getting checked into the hotel, we went for a walk through the town. And this is one of the first sights that we saw, looking inland. One of the reasons that San Marino has been independent for so many centuries is that getting an army up to take the place is an incredibly difficult task. Getting it up there without it being seen and attacked by the defenders of the city, doubly so. It really isn't worth it given that San Marino has a tendency to try to avoid foreign entanglements. Although it was under the rule of a fascist party between the 1920s and 1943, it in fact remained neutral during World War II.
Although small, I do regret that we did not have more time here to explore because we certainly didn't have time to do justice to this small country.
This is a panorama stitched from four individual images.