UNESCO World Heritage Sites in San Marino

Basilica di San Marino

The Basilica di San Marino is dedicated to Saint Marinus, the founder and patron of the San Marino Republic. The present church was built in 1836 in place of an earlier one that dated to 7th century. It is built in the Neoclassical style, with a porch of eight Corinthian columns. Relics of St. Marino are enshrined in the basilica. An earlier church was erected on the spot in the 4th century which was dedicated to the sam ...
Founded: 1826-1838 | Location: San Marino, San Marino

Palazzo Pubblico

The Palazzo Pubblico (Public Palace) is the town hall of the City of San Marino as well as its official Government Building. The building, where official State ceremonies take place, is the seat of the Republic"s main institutional and administrative bodies: the Captains Regent, the Grand and General Council, the Council of XII, and the Congress of State. The main section of the building is topped by battlements ove ...
Founded: 1884-1894 | Location: San Marino, San Marino

Cesta Tower

De La Fratta or Cesta is one of three peaks which overlook the city of San Marino. The other two are Guaita and Montale. The tower is located on the highest of Monte Titano"s summits. A museum to honor Saint Marinus, created in 1956, is located in this tower and showcases over 1,550 weapons dating from the medieval era to the modern day. It was constructed in the 13th century on the remains of an older Roman fort. Ju ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: San Marino, San Marino

Guaita Tower

The Guaita fortress is the oldest of the three towers constructed on Monte Titano, and the most famous. It was built in the 11th century and served briefly as a prison. It is one of the three towers depicted on both the national flag and coat of arms. It was registered as one of the World Heritage Sites in 2008. Guaita was rebuilt in the second half of the 15th century and in the 16th century has been covered with a slop ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: San Marino, San Marino

Montale Tower

Montale is one of three peaks which overlook the city of San Marino, the capital of the Republic of San Marino. The other two are De La Fratta and Guaita. The tower on the peak was constructed in the 14th century. Unlike the other two towers constructed on the mount, Montale is not open to the public. It is one of the three towers depicted on both the national flag and coat of arms of San Marino. It is thought to have bee ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: San Marino, San Marino

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.