San Marino , officially the Republic of San Marino, also known as the Most Serene Republic of San Marino (Italian: Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino), is an enclaved microstate surrounded by Italy, situated on the Italian Peninsula on the northeastern side of the Apennine Mountains. Its size is just over 61 km2 (24 sq mi), with a population of 33,562. Its capital is the City of San Marino and its largest city is Dogana. San Marino has the smallest population of all the members of the Council of Europe.
The country takes its name from Marinus, a stonemason originating from the Roman colony on the island of Rab, in modern-day Croatia. In 257 CE Marinus participated in the reconstruction of Rimini's city walls after their destruction by Liburnian pirates. Marinus then went on to found an independent monastic community on Monte Titano in 301 CE; thus, San Marino lays claim to be the oldest extant sovereign state as well as the oldest constitutional republic.
San Marino is governed by the Constitution of San Marino (Leges Statutae Republicae Sancti Marini), a series of six books written in Latin in the late 16th century, that dictate the country’s political system, among other matters. The country is considered to have the earliest written governing documents (constitution) still in effect.
The country's economy mainly relies on finance, industry, services and tourism. It is one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP (per capita), with a figure comparable to the most developed European regions. San Marino is considered to have a highly stable economy, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, no national debt and a budget surplus. It is the only country with more vehicles than people.
San Marino is the world's oldest republic and Europe's third smallest state. It is the sole survivor of the independent city states that used to make up the Italian peninsula before the unification of Italy. It lies 657m above sea level with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and Adriatic coast, and is situated only 10km from Rimini. Legend has it that the founder of San Marino, a stonemason arrived from the island of Rab in Dalmatia, climbed Mount Titano to found a small community of Christians, persecuted for their faith by the Emperor Diocletian.
San Marino is made up of a few towns dotted around the mountain sides. The capital of San Marino, the City of San Marino (Città di San Marino), is situated high up on a mountain top. The capital is surrounded by a wall and three distinct towers overlook the rest of the country. The site "San Marino: Historic Centre and Mount Titano" has become part of the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008.
The towns surrounding the capital are more industrial and generally not as attractive as the main city. San Marino is 20 times bigger than Monaco and half the size of Liechtenstein.
San Marino's foreign policy is aligned with that of Italy, which surrounds it. Social and political trends in the republic also track closely with those of its larger neighbour.
Tourism in San Marino contributes approximately 2.2% of San Marino's GDP, with approximately 2 million tourists visiting in 2009.
Most tourists who visit San Marino are Italian, usually consisting of people who come to spend holidays in the Romagna riviera and decide to spend a half-day or at most a night in the country. Even though there are only a small number of non-Italian foreigners who visit the country, they still are vital to the Sammarinese economy.
There are no border formalities with Italy. However, at the tourist office visitors can purchase souvenir stamps which are officially canceled inside their passports.
The City of San Marino itself contains most attractions. The City is perched on a hill with regular parking areas for cars and buses. The City historic center itself is only a pedestrian zone that has mostly gift shops and food venues on both sides.
San Marino is an enclave in Italy, on the border between the regioni of Emilia Romagna and Marche and about 10 km (6.21 mi) from the Adriatic coast at Rimini. Its hilly topography, with no flat ground, is part of the Apennine mountain range. The highest point in the country, the summit of Monte Titano, is 749 m (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. It is also the fifth smallest country in the world.
The climate is Mediterranean with continental influences, having warm summers and cool winters that are typical of inland areas of the central Italian peninsula.
|Climate data for San Marino|
|Average high °C (°F)||7|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||4|
|Average low °C (°F)||1|
|Average precipitationmm (inches)||34.0|
|Source: World Weather Online|
San Marino has a population of approximately 33,000, with 4,800 foreign residents, most of whom are Italian citizens. Another 12,000 Sammarinese live abroad (5,700 in Italy, 3,000 in the USA, 1,900 in France and 1,600 in Argentina).
The first census since 1976 was held in 2010. Results were expected by the end of 2011. However, 13 per cent of families did not return their forms.
The primary language spoken is Italian; Romagnol is also widely spoken.
Citizens of San Marino enjoy one of the highest life expectancies in the world.
San Marino is a predominantly Catholic state — over 97% of the population profess the Roman Catholic faith, but it is not the established religion. Approximately half of those who profess to be Catholic practice the faith. There is no episcopal see in San Marino, although its name is part of the present diocesan title. Historically, the various parishes in San Marino were divided between two Italian dioceses, mostly in the Diocese of Montefeltro, and partly in the Diocese of Rimini. In 1977, the border between Montefeltro and Rimini was readjusted so that all of San Marino fell within the diocese of Montefeltro. The bishop of Montefeltro-San Marino resides in Pennabilli, in Italy's province of Pesaro e Urbino.
However, there is a provision under the income tax rules that the taxpayers have the right to request for allocation of 0.3% of their income tax to the Catholic Church or to "other" charities. The churches include the two religious groups of the Waldensian Church and Jehovah's Witnesses.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro was until 1977 the historic diocese of Montefeltro. It is a suffragan of the archdiocese of Ravenna-Cervia. The current diocese includes all the parishes of San Marino. The earliest mention of Montefeltro, as Mona Feretri, is in the diplomas by which Charlemagne confirmed the donation of Pepin. The first known bishop of Montefeltro was Agatho (826), whose residence was at San Leo. Under Bishop Flaminios Dondi (1724) the see was again transferred to San Leo, but later it returned to Pennabilli. The historic diocese was a suffragan of the archdiocese of Urbino. Since 1988, there is formally a apostolic nunciature to the republic, but it's vested in the nuncio to Italy.
There has been a Jewish presence in San Marino for at least 600 years. The first mention of Jews in San Marino dates to the late 14th century, in official documents recording the business transactions of Jews. There are many documents throughout the 15th to 17th centuries describing Jewish dealings and verifying the presence of a Jewish community in San Marino. Jews were permitted official protection by the government.
During World War II, San Marino provided a haven for more than 100,000 Italians and Jews (approximately ten times the Sammarinese population at the time) from Nazi persecution. Today, only a few Jews remain.
Although San Marino is not a European Unionmember, 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 to, 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.
San Marino's per capita GDP of US$55,449 and standard of living are comparable to that of Denmark. Key industries include banking, electronics, and ceramics. The main agriculturalproducts are wine and cheese. San Marino imports mainly staple goods from Italy.
San Marino's postage stamps, which are valid for mail posted in the country, are mostly sold to philatelists and are an important source of income. San Marino is a member of the Small European Postal Administration Cooperation.
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 value-added tax (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.