The Most Serene Republic of San Marino (Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino) is a country in the Apennine Mountains. It is a landlocked enclave, completely surrounded by Italy. One of the European microstates, San Marino has the smallest population of all the members of the Council of Europe and one of the highest GDP per capita in the world.
San Marino is the oldest constitutional republic in the world, having been founded on 3 September 301 by Marinus of Rab, a Christian stonemason fleeing the religious persecution of Roman Emperor Diocletian. San Marino's constitution, dating back to 1600, is the world's oldest written constitution still in effect.
According to tradition, Saint Marinus left the island of Rab in Croatia with his lifelong friend Leo and went to the town of Rimini as a mason. After persecution because of his Christian sermons, he escaped to the nearby Monte Titano, where he built a small church and thus founded what is now the city and the state of San Marino. The official date of foundation of the Republic is 3 September 301.
By the mid-5th century, a community was formed; because of its relatively inaccessible location and its poverty, it has succeeded, with a few brief interruptions, in maintaining its independence. In 1631 its independence was recognized by the Papacy.
During the early phase of the Italian unification process in the 19th century, San Marino served as a refuge for numerous persons who were persecuted because of their support for the unification. In memory of this support, Giuseppe Garibaldi accepted the wish of San Marino not to be incorporated into the new Italian state. Napoleon III refused to take the country. When asked why, he allegedly commented, "Why? It's a model republic!"
The government of San Marino made United States President Abraham Lincoln an honorary citizen. He wrote in reply, saying that the republic proved that "government founded on republican principles is capable of being so administered as to be secure and enduring.
During WWII, San Marino initially declared war on Britain. Then when Italy surrendered San Marino declared neutrality. September 21, 1944 San Marino declared war on Germany.
San Marino was the world's smallest republic from 301 to 1968, until Nauru gained independence.
San Marino is an enclave in Italy, on the border between the regioni of Emilia Romagna and Marche. Its topography is dominated by the Apennines mountain range, and it has a rugged terrain. The highest point in the country, Monte Titano, is situated at 749 metres (2,457 ft) above sea level. There are no bodies of water of any significant size. San Marino is the third-smallest country in Europe, with only Vatican City and Monaco being smaller.
The climate is Mediterranean, with warm summers and mild winters. The National Center of Meteorology and Climatology of San Marino provides local forecasts. Proposed weather services for business and the public include Web cams and Online meteorological and climate data of San Marino. Meteo San Marino - The National Center of Meteorology And Climatology of San Marino
San Marino is divided into the following nine municipalities, known locally as Castelli -castles- (sing. castello, each on a different hill, as depicted on the republic's coat of arms), that are also towns to the world.
The largest town of the Republic is Dogana, which is not an autonomous Castello but rather belongs to the Castello of Serravalle.
The politics of San Marino takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Captains Regent are the heads of state, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Grand and General Council. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
San Marino was originally led by the Arengo, initially formed with the heads of each family. In the 13th century, power was given to the Great and General Council. In 1243, the first two Captains Regent were nominated by the Council. This method of nomination is still in use today, as of 2008.
The legislature of the republic is the Grand and General Council (Consiglio grande e generale). The Council is a unicameral legislature which has 60 members with elections occurring every 5 years under a proportional representation system in all nine administrative districts. These districts (townships) correspond to the old parishes of the republic. Citizens eighteen years or older are eligible to vote. Besides general legislation, the Grand and General Council approves the budget and elects the Captains Regent, the State Congress (composed of 10 Secretaries with executive power), the Council of Twelve (which forms the judicial branch during the period of legislature of the Council), the Advising Commissions, and the Government Unions. The Council also has the power to ratify treaties with other countries. The Council is divided into five different Advising Commissions consisting of 15 councilors which examine, propose, and discuss the implementation of new laws that are on their way to being presented on the floor of the Council. Every 6 months, the Council elects two Captains Regent to be the heads of state. The Regents are chosen from opposing parties so there is a balance of power. They serve a 6-month term. The investiture of the Captains Regent takes place on 1 April and 1 October in every year. Once this term is over, citizens have 3 days in which to file complaints about the Captains' activities. If they warrant it, judicial proceedings against the ex-head(s) of state can be initiated.
The practice of multiple heads of state, as well as the frequent re-election of the heads of state, are derived directly from the customs of the Roman Republic. The Council is equivalent to the Roman Senate; the Captains Regent, to the consuls of ancient Rome.
San Marino is a multi-party democratic republic. The two main parties are the San Marinese Christian Democratic Party (PDCS) and the Party of Socialists and Democrats (PSD, a merger of the Socialist Party of San Marino and the former communist Party of Democrats) in addition to several other smaller parties, such as the San Marinese Communist Refoundation. Due to the small size of San Marino and its low population, it is difficult for any party to gain a pure majority and most of the time the government is run by a coalition. In the June 2006 election the PSD won 20 seats on the Council and currently governs in coalition with the (liberal) Popular Alliance of Sammarinese Democrats for the Republic and United Left.
Although San Marino is not a European Union member, it is allowed to use the euro as its currency by arrangement with the council of the European Union; it is also granted the right to use its own designs on the national side of the euro coins. Before the euro, the Sammarinese lira was pegged and exchangeable with the Italian lira. The small number of Sammarinese euro coins, as was the case with the lira before it, are primarily of interest to coin collectors.
The tourist sector contributes over 50% of San Marino's GDP, with more than 3.3 million tourists visiting in 1997. Other key industries are banking, electronics, and ceramics. The main agricultural products are wine and cheese.
San Marino's postage stamps, which are only valid for mail posted within the country, are mostly sold to philatelists and also form a source of income. San Marino is a member of the Small European Postal Administration Cooperation.
The per capita level of output and standard of living are comparable to those of Italy, which supplies much of its food.
The corporate profits tax rate in San Marino is 19 percent. Capital gains are subject to a five percent tax; interest is subject to a 13 percent withholding tax.
In 1972, a valued added taxation (VAT) system was introduced in Italy, and was applied in San Marino, in accordance with the 1939 friendship treaty. In addition, a tax on imported goods, to be levied by San Marino, was established. Such taxes, however, were not, and are not, applied to national products. Until 1996, goods manufactured and sold in San Marino were not subject to indirect taxation.
Under the European Union customs agreement, San Marino continues to levy taxes, the equivalent of an import duty, on imported goods. Also, a general VAT was introduced, in replacement of the Italian VAT.
The state has a population of approximately 29,000, including 1,000 foreigners, most of whom are Italians. About 5,000 Sammarinese live in foreign countries, predominantly in Italy.
San Marino has one of the smallest military forces in the world. National defence is, by arrangement, the responsibility of Italy's armed forces. Different branches have varied functions including: performing ceremonial duties; patrolling borders; mounting guard at government buildings; and assisting police in major criminal cases.
The Guard of the Rock is a front-line military unit in the San Marino armed forces, a state border patrol, with responsibility for patrolling borders and defending them. In their role as Fortress Guards they are also responsible for the guarding of the Palazzo Pubblico in San Marino City, which is the seat of national Government. In this role they are the forces most visible to tourists, and known for their colourful ceremony of Changing the Guard. Under the 1987 statute the Guard of the Rock are all enrolled as 'Criminal Police Officers' (in addition to their military role) and act to assist the police in investigating major crime. The uniform of the Guard of the Rock is distinctively red and green in colour.
The Guard of the Council Great and General commonly known as The Guard of the Council or locally as the 'Guard of Nobles', formed in 1740, are a volunteer unit with ceremonial duties. Due to its striking blue, white and gold uniform, it is perhaps the best-known part of the Sammarinese military, and appears on countless postcard views of the republic. The functions of the Guard of the Council are to protect the Captains Regent, and to defend the Great and General Council during its formal sessions. They also provide a ceremonial bodyguard to government officials on festivals of both state and church.
The uniform is dark blue, with a kepi bearing a blue and white plume. The ceremonial form of the uniform includes a white cross-strap, and white and blue sash, white epaulets, and white decorated cuffs.
The entire military corps of San Marino depends upon the co-operation of full-time forces and their retained (volunteer) colleagues, known as the Corpi Militari Volontari, or Voluntary Military Force.
There are 220 km of highways in the country, the main road being the San Marino Superhighway. Roads are well used by private car drivers. Sammarinese authorities license private vehicles with distinctive licence plates which are white with blue figures with the coat of arms, usually a letter followed by up to four numbers. Many vehicles also carry the international vehicle identification code (in black on a white oval sticker), which is "RSM".
There are no airports in San Marino, but there is an international heliport located in Borgo Maggiore. Most tourists who arrive by air land at Federico Fellini International Airport close to the city of Rimini and then make the transfer by bus.
Two rivers flow through San Marino, but there is no major water transport, and no major port or harbour.
San Marino has limited public transport facilities. There is a regular bus service between Rimini and the city of San Marino, popular with both tourists and tourist industry workers commuting to San Marino from Italy. This service stops at approximately twenty advertised locations in Rimini and within San Marino, with its two terminus stops at Rimini railway station and San Marino coach station, respectively.
A limited licensed taxi service operates nationwide. There are seven licensed taxi operating companies in the republic, and Italian taxis regularly operate within San Marino when carrying passengers picked up in Italian territory.
There is a 1.5 km aerial tramway connecting the city of San Marino on top of Monte Titano with Borgo Maggiore, a major town in the republic, with the second largest population of any Sammarinese settlement. Indeed, for the tourist visitor the aerial tramway gives the best available views of Borgo Maggiore, as the cars sweep low over the rooftops of the main town square. From here a further connection is available to the nation's largest settlement, Dogana, by means of local bus service.
Two aerial tramway cars, known as gondolas, and numbered '1' and '2', operate in opposition on a cable, and a service is provided at roughly fifteen minute intervals throughout the day. A third vehicle is available on the system, being a service car for the use of engineers maintaining the tramway.
The Three Towers of San Marino are located on the three peaks of Monte Titano in the capital. They are depicted on both the Flag of San Marino and its coat of arms. The three towers are: Guaita, the oldest of the three (it was constructed in the eleventh century); the thirteenth-century Cesta, located on the highest of Monte Titano's summits; and the fourteenth-century Montale, on the smallest of Monte Titano's summits, still privately owned.
Love Orchestra, a Gian Luca "Luke" Mazza new age music project, comes from the Republic of San Marino. During concerts overseas, the San Marino flag is shown on the stage.
The Scuola Superiore di Studi Storici in San Marino (Advanced School of Historical Studies) is a distinguished research and advanced international study center.
The San Marino Championship, founded under the auspices of the FSGC (San Marino Football Federation), is the premier footballing competition in San Marino. The fifteen teams that take part in the competition are split into two groups of eight and seven teams. The top three from each section at the end of the regular season progress into a semi-knockout style Championship Playoff. Prior to 2007, the playoff champion earned a spot in the preliminary rounds of the UEFA Cup. In 2007, UEFA granted San Marino a spot in the 1st Qualifying Round of the Champions League. The domestic cup winner also gets a spot in the UEFA Cup qualifying stages. 2007 league champions S.S. Murata was the first team to represent San Marino in the Champions League when they participated in the 2007-08 competition, losing to Finnish team Tampere United. San Marino also has a representative in the Italian system, with San Marino Calcio playing in the fourth tier of Italian football, Serie C2/B. San Marino play their home matches in the Sanmarinese at the Stadio Olimpico of Serravalle.
The San Marino national team played its first unofficial international match in 1986, in which it suffered a 0-1 defeat to the Canadian Olympic team. Its first competitive outing was on 14 November 1990, a 0-4 loss against Switzerland in the European Championship qualifier. These defeats set the tone for most of the following outings of the team, who are regarded as whipping boys in the qualifying sections of the European Championship and the World Cup.
They had a brief moment of glory when they faced England in a World Cup qualifier on 17 November 1993 and took the lead through Davide Gualtieri after just 8.3 seconds - still the fastest goal in World Cup competition Despite this goal, only San Marino's third at international level, the microstate went on to lose 7-1.
Until recently, San Marino's international record was one of almost total failure, with famous draws against Turkey and Latvia being the only partial successes in an international career that contains over 70 defeats. However, on the 29 April 2004, San Marino recorded their first ever win, with a 1-0 victory over Liechtenstein in an international friendly. Andy Selva scored the only goal in a close game that finally gave this tiny republic a footballing victory.
On 6 September 2006, San Marino suffered their biggest ever defeat, losing 13-0 to world giants Germany in the Stadio Olimpico. It was also the largest goal margin defeat in European Championship Qualifying history. In the same competition on 7 February 2007, they came within 8 seconds of the best result in their history. They were level at 1-1 with the Republic of Ireland after 94 minutes when Stephen Ireland scored within 8 seconds of the final whistle. The goal scored by San Marino was their European Qualifying first goal since losing 4-1 to Austria in 1998.
As of May 2008, San Marino is 200th in the FIFA world rankings - jointly last with seven other teams.
One of the Formula One races, the San Marino Grand Prix, is named after the state, although it does not actually take place there. It takes place at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in the Italian town of Imola, about 100 km northwest of San Marino, along the Via Emilia. The race was etched in infamy after two fatal accidents occurred at the 1994 Grand Prix, when Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger were killed.
The race was removed from the calendar for 2007.
The San Marino and Rimini's Coast motorcycle Grand Prix was reinstated in the schedule in 2007 and takes place at the Misano World Circuit.
Manuel Poggiali is one of San Marino's most winning sportsmen. He won 2 motorcycle World Championships, in 2001 with 125 cc bikes and in 2003 with 250 cc bikes. Another San Marino successful motorcycle rider is Alex De Angelis, a race winner in the 250 cc class and is currently racing in the premiere MotoGP class.
San Marino has a rather successful professional baseball team, T & A San Marino, which play in the top division of Italian professional baseball, the Serie A1. It has participated in the European Cup tournament for the top European professional baseball teams several times, hosting the event in 1996, 2000 and 2004, and scheduled to host in 2007. It won the championship in 2006.
The long climb up to the top of San Marino has become a mecca for thousands of recreational road cyclists who train in nearby Misano every spring and autumn.
San Marino entered the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time, in 2008, with the band Miodio singing Complice. The group failed to make it to the Final from the first semi-final. San Marino gave its first ever highest (12) points to Greece. They were also one of only two countries - along with Ireland - to vote for the United Kingdom. The BBC subsequently published a magazine article on its website about San Marino, entitled "Britain's New Best Friend?"