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Basilica di San Marino

Basilica di San Marino
Basilica di San Marino / Ady, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  In short

The main church in the small country of San Marino is Basilica di San Marino – fine example of Neo-Classical architecture. First church in this place was built more than 1500 years ago.

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GPS coordinates
43.9371 N 12.4469 E
Location, address
Europe, San Marino, north eastern part of City of San Marino, on Piazza Domus Plebis
Achille Serra
Architectural style
Year of construction
1826 – 1838
Branch of Christianity
UNESCO World Heritage status
Part of "San Marino Historic Centre and Mount Titano", 2008, No.1245

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

Old church

The story of this church starts in the times of Ancient Rome. In 301 AD here arrived Saint Marinus – a stonemason and Christian, persecuted not only by authorities but also by an insane woman defaming him on every possible occasion.

He chose to climb the impressive Monte Titano and live a life of a hermit, free from any state and religious officials. He built a small chapel here. Soon he was joined by other people and here was founded a monastery. San Marinese people lived proud and independent lives and by the 13th century, this was a republic with strict and democratic legislation.

The earliest mention of the church in the site of the present-day basilica is from 530 AD.

This – or a church constructed somewhat later (7th century AD) – stood here until the early 19th century. In 1586 under its altar were discovered relics of Saint Martinus testifying that this is the most sacred place in the republic indeed.

Interior, San Marino Basilica
Interior / tinman6, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
The new church

By the early 19th century the ancient church was in dire condition and was razed down in 1807. In 1826 it was decided to build a new church on the same site – it was designed by Bolognese architect Achille Serra. Construction continued for a fairly long time – until 1838.

In 1926 the church was elevated to the rank of basilica minor and in 1982 visited by Pope John Paul II.


The church was designed in Neo-Classical style and is expressive representative of this style.

This is seen immediately when looking at the entrance – porch with eight massive Corinthian columns. Also, the interior represents this style – it is adorned with columns too and has a fine ceiling with barrel vaults.

Some of the more famous artworks here are a statue of Saint Marinus by the famous Adamo Tadolini and a painting by legendary Elisabetta Sirani.

Next to the church stands the bell tower which is older than the church, it is built in the 17th century.

Basilica is depicted on the ten cents coin of Sammarinese euro coins.

  1. Eve Ann Lovero, Vino Con Vista Italy Travel Guides and Events, The Cathedral of Monaco in the French Riviera and the Royal Weddings. Accessed on July 19, 2015

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Most of the world’s straw hats and plenty of its shoes come from this fascinating Italian region. With stunning sandy beaches, superb food and wine, national parks, and world-class art (Raphael was born in Urbino, the most famous city), this is a must-have guide for all independent travelers. Each chapter comes with a detailed listing of restaurants, coffee bars, and gelato parlors.

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