Monday, June 1, 2009

Castles in the Sky: Tiny State's Tiny Tower

Here's a cute and tiny little axis mundi on a forested cliff overlooking San Marino, the smallest of the European states by population. San Marino has the oldest constitution in the world still in effect--it dates from 1600. America's is the second oldest.

There is a surreal, sublime effect of seeing the world from so far above--from a single manmade tower on a high mountainside, with no other human landmarks near it, except far, far below. The tower itself is hardly even part of our world. And it can see into the world beyond, miles and miles, almost surely into ancient Italia, by which San Marino is entirely surrounded.

It is also worth mentioning that this tower is built on the summit of Mount Titano, the highest point in San Marino, and that the entirety of San Marino is built on Titano and its nearest neighbors. The entire state is built on mountains--far above the mundane concerns of the world below.

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