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Tue Sep 16 2014: San Marino and Urbino

We are going to be to staying at our campsite in Riccione for another day to ride around the Appenines, the central chain of mountains that runs down the centre of Italy.

Staying another day? Then let's stock up on more cheap, Italian red wine!

Mount Titano rises up in the distance, and we can see the three towers of San Marino at the top

Our first stop of the day is San Marino, a city-state, totally surrounded by Italy, yet recognized as an independent country. We climb switchback after switchback to reach the capital town, San Marino City, which is situated on top of Mount Titano.

San Marino City's coat of arms is three towers with three plumes of smoke

San Marino has a long history of fierce independence, staying neutral in both World Wars and offering political sanctuary during the Italian unification in the 19th century. The motto and the coat of arms of the country is "Libertas", freedom from political oppression. Did you know Abraham Lincoln was a citizen of San Marino? He was given that honorary status to recognize his fight to end slavery.

Mount Titano is triple-peaked, with a castle at each peak.
We're in the first tower, Guaita, looking over at the second tower.

Did I mention my feet tingle when I look down? My toes have a spider-sense...

San Marino only covers about 60 square kms: beautiful sprawling countryside

Even the classiest places can have a little bit of kitsch. €8 for entry: Scary prices

Scenic, but expensive place to have lunch

I keep telling Neda, "It won't fit in the sidecase!"
Did you know Nutella is made in Italy? The factory is just an hour and half outside of Milan!

Basilica of San Marino

Must have been an Audi staff meeting here, lots of people in expensive suits with briefcases milling around

There's supposed to be a changing of the guard ceremony here every hour on the half-hour. We waited over an hour to see that, but they never came out. Is it still Ferragosto here?

Taking a break from all the walking around

After a picnic lunch on the city walls, we head back on the bikes in the afternoon to ride around the countyside. Our goal in Europe is to stay off the Autostrada as much as possible, to see as much of the country and save a bit of money as well.

We found a great winding, country lane that ran along the ridge of a hill, scenery on either side of us

Farms all around us, with the odd villa dotting the landscape

Our loop around the area takes us down to Urbino where we stop again in the late afternoon. You can't throw a tortellini without hitting a twisty road, and our favorites were the ones around Urbania and Urbino. I remarked to Neda that it's been so long since we just rode twisty roads for the enjoyment of it. Much of our Latin American trek was destination oriented, instead of focusing on the road itself.

Riding through the Piazza Rinascmento, past the Duomo di Urbino

Urbino has a real renaissance feel to it, as if there's a Leonardo da Vinci behind every door sketching fantastical inventions. We had a really good time, wandering (and riding) around the narrow cobblestone streets of town, taking in it's picturesque beauty.

Not sure if we were allowed to ride through the Piazza, still a bit of the residual Latin American mentality...

Piazza della Repubblica

He made us an offer we couldn't refuse

Marveling at the roofs of the porticos in Urbino

There was a kite festival in the town recently,
and there were decorations above all the streets

So pretty!

Leonarda in training, sketching the Ducal Palace of Urbino

More kites and palaces

Outta my way! Neda zooming through the narrow streets of Urbino!

Feels so good to be wandering around on two wheels again!

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