The Birthplace of Raphael – Urbino, Italy

We decided last weekend to make a slow, easy day trip wandering through the Tuscan hills, through Umbria, and over to the Marche region, stopping in the small medieval walled town of Urbino.  Urbino is the birthplace of Raphael, one of the greatest known Italian painters and architects of all time.  The town, nestled on a high sloping (and very picturesque) hillside, is best known for the Ducal Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. … [Read More]

3rd smallest country in the world – San Marino

Tower #1

Everyone knows about Vatican City being its own entity/country, but who knew there is actually a second country inside of Italy?  San Marino is the 3rd smallest city in the world, with only Vatican City and Monaco being smaller.  It sits almost directly east of Florence and is only 24 square miles in area with a population of 30,000.  However, although it is small, it is the oldest surviving sovereign state (it was founded in 301) and has the oldest constitution in the world (enacted in 1600).  It is also considered one of the wealthiest cities per capita in the world.  This doesn’t surprise us much, considering we saw a bank on every corner and almost every person drove a BMW, Audi, or Mercedes (oh, and we also saw a Maserati and a Ferrari).  Although it uses the Euro as currency, San Marino is not a part of the European Union.  Strange, huh?… [Read More]