Tuesday, July 2, 2013


View from our hotel in San Benedetto del Tronto
Biking in San Benedetto del Tronto

There are close to 62 million people in Italy and during the summer, many of them can be found on the east coast of Italy.  One seemingly endless beach runs along the Adriatic Sea.  Lined up across the sand are beach chairs and umbrellas...  thousands of them.   

Italian Water Fountain
Families frequently travel together - children, parents, grandparents and even great grandparents.  By the time we arrived, school was out and children were everywhere.  It is hard to believe that the 2012 birth rate in this country was only 1.4 -- well below the replacement level of 2.1 children per couple.   

The first coastal resort we visited was the town of San Benedetto del Tronto situated at the center of the Italian peninsula.  The name of our hotel was quite fitting: Hotel Relax.   A very long biking and walking path ran beside the beaches, around the marina and through the town.  We enjoyed riding different sections of it every day.   
Arch of Augustus 27 BC - Entrance to Rimini's historic center

After several days, we moved up the coast to Rimini, the most popular of all the beach resorts.  Here, as at Hotel Relax, all our meals were included.  For the most part, the food has been good although I can't understand how people eat as much pasta as the Italians do and not weigh 330 lbs.  

Restored wall surrounding town of San Marino
Rimini is renowned for its 15 km long, sandy beach. Over 1,000 hotels serve the tourists who are almost exclusively Italian.  Founded by the Romans in 268 BC, Rimini has an impressive old city and is also proud to claim Federico Fellini as its native son.    

View over the valley from Mount Titano 
Palazzo Pubblico San Marino

Only 20 minutes by car takes you from Rimini to the Republic of San Marino, the 5th smallest country in the world.   Surrounded by Italy and only 24 square miles in area, it has much to boast about.  It is the oldest republic in the world, has the lowest unemployment rate in Europe and no national debt.  It is ranked #3 of 191 nations in healthcare.  

Charming walkways through San Marino 
Founded in the 4th century, San Marino sits atop Mount Titano and is home to about 32,000 people. The old city - also called San Marino - is a UNESCO World Heritage site and beautiful to visit.  Even though it was a cloudy day, the view from  Mount Titano which is 2,424 feet above sea level, was magnificent. 

 Now we leave behind lazy days lounging on the beach and head north to Italy's lake region.