San Marino, an enclaved 24-square mile microstate in northern Italy, with a population of 33,562, is a booming travel destination with a 31.1% growth in tourism in 2017. Currently, the tiny nation, which has the smallest population of all the members of the Council of Europe, is also ranked the top-growing European tourist destination in Europe. Other countries on the list of fastest-growing European travel destinations include Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
San Marino, which is landlocked, lists postage stamps and coins as some of its primary sources of revenue. The country’s sudden popularity is unprecedented since last year, it had nearly three times as much tourism growth as Italy, the country which surrounds it. According to Bloomberg, San Marino registered 78,000 tourist arrivals in 2017. Though that number pales in comparison to the nearly 90 people million who visit France each year, it is a massive increase for the diminutive state.
Attractions in San Marino include numerous clifftop castles, as well as a historic center and Mount Titano, which are on the UNESCO Heritage List. The Guaita, the First Tower of San Marino, dating back to the 11th century, served as a prison that closed in 1970 and is currently one of the country’s most visited landmarks. San Marino, which ranks as one the richest countries in the world, had a GDP per capita of $61,169 in 2017.
One of the country’s highlights is the Museo di Stato, the National Museum, which dates back to 1899. Located in the Palazzo Pergami Belluzzi, it houses a collection of nearly five thousand pieces, many related to the nation and its history.
The museum’s artifacts stretch from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages and include the bronze statues of Tanaccia and the gold stud of the Treasure of Domagnano, paintings, and sculptures by Guercino, and seventeenth-century paintings and ancient coins of San Marino, as well as artifacts from ancient Egypt, Italy, and Rome.
The main benefactor of the museum collection was the Italian Count, Luigi Cibrario, Minister of the Kingdom of Italy and consultant to the San Marino Government from 1862. Count Cibrario was the first citizen to donate to the museum. His contributions include antique bibliographic documents from his private collection.