The term “micro republic” might sound a little like a guy who’s deemed his front yard an independent country. But it more accurately refers to tiny countries with historical independence who retain it to this day. A perfect example of this is San Marino, tucked into Italy’s Apennine Mountains and completely surrounded by another country (still Italy). Its capital, also called San Marino, is a gorgeous, historic, walled city that tells the story of how this tiny state has survived for centuries.

Since it’s far up in the mountains, this 24-square mile country is also a fantastic place to hike. The three towers on Monte Titano are the quintessential destination, but you can also take a gondola from town to town and get your steps in walking the sunny piazzas. Then sleep it off in a centuries-old castle. We’ll show you how to do it all, plus explain all the reasons why living here will help you prolong your life.