After leaving San Leo, driving through the Apennines…
… we have reached the Republic of San Marino, whose territory covers 61 km2 (which is eight times less than the area of city of Warsaw). In the Middle Ages there were many such small countries in Europe, but almost all of them were absorbed by the growing nation-states – San Marino is one of the few that remained independent.
Rimini (formerly called Ariminum) is located just a few kilometers from Bellaria-Igea Marina. Despite the earthquake in 1672 and World War II bombings, many monuments from earlier eras are preserved there.
We started the tour from one of the two main markets of the city, Piazza Tre Martiri (Three Martyrs Square), named after three guerrilla men named Luigi Nicolò, Adelio Pagliarani and Mario Capelli, hanged by Nazi German occupiers on August 16, 1944. As you will soon see, this square was also a place of other dramatic events.
On the square there is the 16th-century Torre dell’Orologio (clock tower), with the eighteenth-century calendar with the signs of the Zodiac and the phases of the moon. On the lowest level there is a portico which middle, blind arch commemorates the inhabitants of Rimini who died during World War II. I saw similar monuments in various cities of Italy and France, which I think proves false the popular statement that national martyrdom is a unique Polish feature.
A two-week trip to Bellaria took place in July 2003. It was my second travel abroad and the first visit in Italy and San Marino (in case of San Marino – the only one so far). It was also the second and so far the last long foreign travel without using of air transport, but only by car. During this trip I had the opportunity to pay in euro for the first time – this currency was then in use only for several months. This was also the first trip during which we had a digital camera, and this is why this report appears in the first order (no reference to Star Wars intended!).
The first day of the trip took over a 600-kilometer road to the place of the overnight accommodation – Mikulov in the Czech Republic near the border with Austria (and the European Union, which neither Poland nor the Czech Republic were yet members). The next day we drove through a number of well-known cities, but we did not stop in any of them, which in retrospect I regret – although otherwise we would not be able to travel about 900 km from Mikulov to Bellaria in one day.
We entered Austria early in the morning and traveled through Vienna and then Klagenfurt. Later we saw the picturesque Alps.