The Most Serene Republic of San Marino, to use San Marino's official title, is the world's oldest republic still in existence. Founded in 301AD by a stonemason, St Marinus, this tiny country is geographically part of Italy but has a distinct character of its own.
The capital, San Marino sits on the slopes of Mount Titano. Its medieval heart has been perfectly preserved and it is straightforward to explore on foot. Three walls encircle the city and many of the defensive features remain; La Rocca, or First Tower, is the oldest tower and dates back to the eleventh century.
Within the capital explore the Government Palace, the Basilica, the State Museum, Art Gallery and various ancient churches. Stroll around the attractive Palazo Publico and gasp at the views from the Piazza della Liberta.
Outside the capital and hidden amidst the pinewoods, springs and lakes that characterise the republic are eight tiny villages. Look out for Malatesta Castle at Serravalle, the fort at Pennarossa and the churches of Valdragone and Borgo Maggiore.