Our experience with our hotel in Pescara turned around this morning, as there was new staff on shift. They went out of their way to try to find somewhere we could buy olive oil from Loreto Aprutino. Unfortunately for us, they are harvesting right now and are starting to make the 2017 batch of olive oil this weekend. It now makes sense why we saw so many people working in the olive groves yesterday. We also learned that pretty much everything in Loreto Aprutino shuts down for the afternoon, reopening at 4pm. No wonder why things seemed so deserted!
We hit the road after grabbing showers and breakfast, ready to make our way northeast to San Marino. The drive was once again gorgeous, this time we headed along the sea northward until we had to break off from the main autostrade and head up into the hills where San Marino is located. I had no idea the history of San Marino, only that it was its own little country bordered completely by Italy. Apparently origins are in early 4th century where “…St. Marinus and a group of Christians settled there to escape persecution.” You can find out more about the history here (which is also where the quote is from).
(Please forgive the dirty window I was shooting through!)
San Marino sits high upon a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside. Our hotel is at the bottom of the city center, so once we checked in and dropped our bags, we started hiking up the hill to see the city.
This is one of the loveliest cities I have seen so far. The streets wind up and up and up and each area we walked you could tell it was loved and well cared for. The city proper (which really is more of a small town) definitely relies on tourism as an economy – there were so many shops set up selling leather, perfume, watches, ceramics, wine, and clothing. The town is flanked by three large towers (built in 11th and 13th centuries) and a castle that still holds their government meetings.
We had lunch at Ritrovo dei Lavoratori which is a restaurant that our host recommended. It was authentically Italian and most of the patrons were Italian. They spoke just enough English to help us out and the food was AMAZING. We split an appetizer that offered a selection of several different foods from the region (we are finding this is a great way to taste the local food). The owners were so kind and the atmosphere was warm and inviting.
From there we headed out to explore the town. Given it is fall, we found ourselves sitting among the clouds without a view. It was fascinating to watch the clouds blow by right below us, basically letting the view peep in and out.
There are a lot of sculptures throughout the city as well.
There were moments when the towers would be out in full view only to be covered within seconds by clouds. It was one of the crazier sights that we have seen so far.
We caught the tail end of the changing of the guard at the main castle area. There were so many beautiful stone pathways that wound around the city, or streets with very little traffic on them. The whole place felt completely enchanting.
We did a little shopping and Jeremy found Giuseppe to replace poor Waldo. And I think that he is perfect for us!
Unfortunately we were exploring after museums closed, so we didn’t get to go inside the palace or the towers. We have time to kill tomorrow, so I think we will get up and spend the morning touring before heading north to Milan and home. In the meantime we wandered between the three towers, enjoying the ever changing scenery with the fog and the castle – it seriously felt like we were in a fairytale.
There was this cute little restaurant that had bicycles hung along the outside.
At this point the town was starting to close down for the night, so we began our descent back down the mountain (hill) to our hotel.
We went to Picolo for dinner – a cute little restaurant that apparently specializes in fish and again is totally local. They didn’t have a menu in English, so we floundered our way through ordering and ended up unintentionally with appetizers that were meat. And since we have pretty much eaten our way through Italy, neither of us could stomach another large secondi part of our meal. We settled on splitting a dessert – a small cheesecake with strawberry jam and it was delicious. The restaurant was really neat – we sat in the very back where it was carved into the side of the cliff, so the walls were all rock around us. Apparently that was the original Picolo restaurant (which the reinforced a bit) and over the years they finally added on to it and extended it out towards the street with the structure attached to the hillside.
Both of us were exhausted after walking so much today, so we headed back to the hotel to crash for the night. We are starting to slowly come to terms with only having two more nights before our flight … and that we have to check in for that flight in the morning. Can’t believe how quickly this trip has passed!