San Marino Sunset

A stonemason, running away from religious persecution, founded the smallest republic of the E.U. around 300 C.E. They were under constant threat from armies in the modern era, but with charming diplomacy, were granted the sovereignty of their small union of 24 sq. km. upon a mini-mountain overlooking the Adriatic Sea. I was driving down the winding roads from Ravenna and in the distance, many miles away, I could swear to see a castle on a hill, in the direction where San Marino should be. I was right, you can see this country from at least 100km away.

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This was the castle I saw. I had to run up the steep stairs leading to the city entrance to make it for sunset.

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I was proud of my quick hike and snapped a selfie.

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The town was empty, until I got to the top. Tourists of all shapes, colors and camera lenses were lining up for the opportunity to get this background.

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From the other side, you can see the winding streets and large houses of a very wealthy country.

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If you look in the distance, that is the Adriatic. I remembered being on top of a mountain in Pyeoncheong, Korea (about 1,000m), brutally shivering in the Siberian winds, and seeing a similar sight of an ocean in the distance. It feels so magical to me to look out upon a land from great heights. Maybe that’s why people climb Mt. Everest. This is far from the highest peak in the world. It is only about 700m high, but rewardingly expansive.

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These poor old-timey role players probably make the same smile all day. They were pleasant though. Cute country.

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Big Bologna Pranzo and Pizza in Rimini

It’s no surprise that Bologna cooks it up big. CIBO (Also: Culinary Institute of Bologna) is Italian for food, and this is the best eating city in Italy. I found a little place off the main street called Trattoria Del Rosso (Via Augusto Righi 30). I was learning that to make it from noon to the eight or nine o’clock dinner time for Italians, I’d need to order a primo and secondo piatto. First up: Tagliatelle con ragu.

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Perfect homemade sauce, fresh Parmigiano, bread to clean up the meat, and a deep red wine to match. Next was the biggest surprise of the trip for me. I asked for a meat recommendation, and he told me the unappetizing sounding “stinco.” It means shin. I said, “Si, grazie.” About 40 minutes later, this comes out…

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The two men next to me shared a plate of this, and they seemed very full afterwards. It was a delicious struggle to finish. The meat was outstanding; rosemary potatoes; lovely afternoon meal. I was loaded with food and made my way to Ravenna before darting off to San Marino for sunset.

Finally arriving in Rimini after dark, I asked the young lady at my cute hotel Hotel Fra i Pini for a place to eat. She told me to go to the Old American Bar (Viale Giuseppe Mazzini 25). I was surprised to find basically the most layered and delicately flavored pizza I’ve had yet. It was called barsciola? and had sausage, onion, truffle oil, rucola, garlic and mozzarella. I finally met a pizza I couldn’t finish.

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