By Antonio Malara
The republic of San Marino is a state that extends for about 61,000 square km in central-northern Italy. The main city is the "City of San Marino" whose historic center became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. It is precisely about this city that I want to talk but not just the visit I made in 2011 together with the gymnastics team whose I was part of it then. In fact, I want to use that daily trip to also tell the photographic aspect according to the principle of preserving memories. The first years that I started following gymnastics competitions I photographed with the Nikon D3s and the 70-200 and I didn't bring other photographic equipment. In 2011 I decided to bring the Panasonic FX 30 compact camera with me. During our stays we always made small visits to characteristic places and I always ended up taking pictures with the iPhone 4 which was then the best in terms of photography. However, the photographs I took on the phone did not satisfy me and above all I never transferred them to the computer. Sure the new Panasonic would take better pictures and then organize them on the computer, it gave me more motivation to shoot. Today if I can publish this post it is thanks to that small camera, even if the quality always seems poor compared to today's standards, I was still able to find the photos on the hard disk, edit them and create this post. This served as a reflection on the importance of the "traditional" method of photographing and organizing photos compared to the modern habit of photographing with the phone and then forgetting the photos in the camera rolls. Today mobile phones take pictures that are certainly better than my old Panasonic, but if the photos are not saved and organized with a backup on the computer there is a risk of losing them, both physically and as memories. Try going to find photos taken with the phone ten years ago and then maybe create a post, would you do it? I think not, at best you can find some photos published on a social network but nothing more. After this long introduction, I can tell the story of that day in San Marino mainly thanks to the photos taken with my Panasonic.
We moved from Pesaro to the city of San Marino by bus, the journey was not very long and the driver dropped us off at the parking lot which was located in the lower part of the city. In fact, the historic center develops all close to a big hill. The walk looks like a "climb", the small center is a tangle of narrow streets that climb to the top. Walking through the alleys was pleasant, there were many people around and there were many souvenir shops. Along the way to the top there were three main places of interest. The first was the small "Chiesa di San Francesco", more than for its design, it was striking for its location, on a difference in height between one alley and another. Further up there was the "Palazzo Pubblico", very beautiful with three large arches, large windows and a tower on the left. The building overlooked "Piazza della Libertà". Personally I like these large spaces created in this type of context because they normally overlook valleys giving beautiful views. A few steps from there but on a higher level there was the "Basilica", also very nice with tall columns and a bell tower on the right. These were the main things before reaching the top where the real attraction of San Marino was; the Castle. This site was the largest of the so-called "Torri di San Marino" would say three fortresses and observation points built on three peaks that served as a refuge to defend against attacks on the city. We visited the largest, "Torre Guaita" which also included "La Cappella di Santa Barbara" inside. The area was very characteristic, the green lawn in the large courtyard was surrounded by high walls and various towers. At first glance I felt like I was in a miniature Hogwarts, the style was just like a castle. The most interesting thing, however, was "La Rocca" (also known as Prima Torre), once you climbed to the top, in order to access the panoramic part you had to go through a small trap door which was accessed via a steep staircase without protection. The view was worth all the efforts, from up there you could see the other two towers and all the glimpses of the city and the valley. I don't know exactly how high we were but certainly very high as we were on top of a tower which was on top of a fortress. Someone braver than me got on the edge to take a picture, while I limited myself to sitting on it. Thanks to the young company that visit to the castle was a lot of fun, the enthusiasm and spontaneous reaction of the guys are dragged and gives a more genuine experience.
This is the story of my short day in San Marino, certainly not documented with quality photos but still documented. Unfortunately, in the following years I made mistakes finding myself in unexpectedly unique places and documenting them only with an iPhone 4. Today I am more organized having powerful but compact cameras, I hope not to make that kind of mistakes anymore but I don't take it for granted.
Pictures: Antonio Malara
Camera: Panasonic FX30