San Marino is the world’s oldest republic. Its mere 24 sq miles of territory is located about 6 miles from the Italian Adriatic Coast near Rimini.
For such a tiny country, it contained several big surprises.
We caught a fast intercity train to Rimini from Bologna (just under an hour) and managed to snag the last 2 seats on the coach for the 45 minute bus journey to San Marino. How strange, I thought, 90% of our fellow travellers on the coach were Russian speaking. Naturally I thought it was great to have some language practice. But when we arrived in San Marino and we were greeted with a cheery “здравствуйте” by the shopkeepers things got a bit strange. The entire place was filled with Russian tourists. How curious. Did they came for the views of the Tuscan-Emilian Appenines? Or the view of the Adriatic coast visible from San Marino’s lookout point at a height of 749 m above sea level? Perhaps, but I suspect it was in fact for the shopping.
And what shopping it was! Nowhere else in the world have I seen his and hers shopping quite like the San Marino version. Display cases full of blingy, sparkly jewellery for the ladies. And for the men, (replica, I hope) automatic rifles were placed in the display cases just below the sparkly necklaces. Just for good measure, crossbows were strung from the ceiling. Absolutely astonishing.
After all this strangeness I was ready for a good sit down. I popped into the tourist information office to see if in all this craziness there might be somewhere which offered gluten free food. To my great surprise, there was a gluten free pizzeria!
Ristorante pizzeria Il Beccafico is located downstairs at Hotel La Rocca right in the historical centre of San Marino.
The interior is decorated in a style reminiscent of an Alpine ski lodge with a wonderful view down the valley.
“Each dish is cooked in full compliance with the rules of gluten free food preparation”
As well as pizza the menus offered plenty of choice including various gluten free pastas.
I chose the vegetarian pizza which came with plenty of roasted vegetables. As an additional step for the kitchen and waiter to differentiate the gluten free pizza from the regular, my pizza arrived on a patterned plate, whilst Mr D’s was on a plain white plate. It’s hard to tell from the photo but the gluten free base was super thin and crispy. The vegetables were fresh and flavoursome. I enjoyed that this pizza had a little cheese but – in the usual Italian style – wasn’t drenched in cheese.
Pizzeria Il Beccafico
Address: SAL. ROCK 37/39, Republic Of San Marino
Cost: Gluten free pizzas cost €6 to €9.50
Rating: 9 / 10 – an unexpected surprise