Saturday, May 03, 2008

Roman glories and castles

So, the last few days of my time in Europe. We recently road tripped to Rimini in Italy. A beautiful city with a great beach , some cool bars and a lot of history.

Obviously there was plenty of Roman history in the city. Mostly of the Imperial period, when Octavian, Trajan and Augustus all supported the city at various times. The city gate in particular is a massive construction; so large in fact that at the time the gates could not be barred by conventional means.
The brick work is the later medieval walls. Impressive. Below is a statue of Octavian himself, I doubt from its' excellent preservation it is a Roman statue though!

There was also time to go to San Marino, Europes' third smallest state. It is home to the most tacky shops and is in particular the place to go if you want to buy [not always replica] guns, sword, chainmail or crossbows. Alongside knock off Italian hand bags and cheap perfume. San Marino has a defensive military tradition and operates a small number of regular units; here being one of the city guards, doing what his title implies...

The fortifications themselves are spectacular, standing on an inaccessible rock some 750m above sea level.
Inside one of the towers is a fine collection of late medieval weapons and firearms, worth the 3€ entry fee on their own, my favourite was the twelve shot twin-barreled revolver; where each barrel was also part of the handle when using the other barrel. Strange.

Elsewhere the English run torture museum was worth a look, if a little creepy. All in all if you like castles; San Marino is a place to go.

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