San Marino



When Napoleon passed through tiny San Marino back in 1797, he was so amused by the nation that he offered to increase its size. His offer was declined, and San Marino remains one of Europe's smallest countries. And it's still amusing to travelers who are just passing through. In fact, San Marino has so devoted itself to tourism that the entire country resembles a kind of roadside attraction, complete with spiffed-up mountain villages with picturesque medieval streets.

Still, few travelers actually set out with San Marino as their primary destination. Except for the stray stamp collector on a personal quest, most visitors to this tiny republic are either Italians who live nearby or curious tourists exploring the Italian regions of Emilia Romagna and Marche. San Marino offers a pleasant inland contrast to the crowded beaches of nearby Rimini, Italy. Most visitors spend a day shopping in San Marino's duty-free stores, purchasing local stamps, visiting the country's small museums, hiking the castle route and enjoying the sweeping views of the Adriatic Sea.

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