Art and culture of San Marino
Discover the true essence of San Marino
The historic centre of San Marino and its monuments: a city rich in art and culture, from whatever angle you look at it
The museums of San Marino, its historic centre and the monuments of the Old Republic are a precious, indispensable aspect of the journey for those choosing to visit the territory starting from the Capital's historic centre.
The historic centre of the Old Town winds around the upper part of Mount Titano, 750 metres above sea level, and is surrounded by massive medieval stone walls.
The capital, San Marino, is a mosaic of districts and streets overlooked by buildings and monuments. Just look up and the three Towers at the top of the mountain represent the most famous image of the state, outlining an engaging profile that embraces the mountain.
Walking around among monuments and old Churches
In the high part of the city we find the Basilica of Saint Marinus that preserves the relics of the Holy Founder and is also the venue for some institutional ceremonies. There is also the Small Church of Saint Peter where Saints Marinus and Leo rested.
Near the main entrance gate to the historic centre stands St. Francis Church with the adjoining picture gallery, dating from the fourteenth century. Close at hand the Church of the Capuchin Fathers and the State Museum of San Marino, located at Palazzo Pergami and recently refurbished.
Piazza della Libertà lies at the heart of the country’s institutional life, and it is here that we find the Public Palace (1894), seat of the Great and General Council (the parliament). The Palace was restored on the occasion of its centenary in 1994 by the internationally renowned architect Gae Aulenti, and reopened in 1996. Inside the building, in the room used for parliamentary sessions, which can be watched, there is a large fresco dating back to the end of the 19th century by the Roman artist Emilio Retrosi.
Behind the Public Palace is the beautiful Cava dei Balestrieri (Crossbowmen's Quarry), where traditional Sammarinese events are held, involving the crossbowmen and flag-wavers of San Marino. In Contrada Omerelli stand a number of historic buildings that currently house ministries and the ancient Monastery of Santa Chiara, dating back to the beginning of the 17th century, which is now the University.
Another prestigious building is the Teatro Titano in Piazza Sant'Agata, a delightful theatre with balconies dating back to about 1750, completely restored in 1941 by Gino Zani, who preserved its original form.