San Marino Facts

San Marino Facts and History


San Marino – The oldest republic on earth

“Although your national territory is small: your state is one of the most honored in history”.

Abraham Lincoln, who later became an honorary citizen, wrote these words to the Capitani Reggenti of San Marino. He wanted to emphasize the fact that San Marino remained an independent, free republic even after the unification of Italy.

San Marino, the dwarf state in northern Italy not far from the Adriatic coast and nicknamed “La Serenissima”, consists of the capital of the same name and eight rural communities.

The state institutions of this oldest republic in the world were established 800 years ago and the first constitution that is still

largely in force dates back to 1263. It is worth mentioning that San Marino was neutral during World War II and largely from Destruction was spared.

The city of San Marino and Monte Titano were entered in the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage in 2008.

Over 3 million tourists visit San Marino annually, which is one of the wealthiest countries in the world today. Its main attraction is the medieval capital, located on the western slope of Monte Titano, which offers a wonderful view of the surrounding area as far as the Adriatic Sea. The famous Italian author Umberto Eco taught at the country’s small university, founded in 1985.

Name of the country Republic of San Marino/Repubblica di San Marino
“Nicknames” of the country Stamp republic
Form of government republic
Geographical location Enclave in northeast Italy
National anthem Inno Nazionale della Repubblica (without text)
Population approx.32,500 (Credit: Countryaah: San Marino Population)
Ethnicities San Marines and Italians
Religions approx. 95% Catholics
Languages Italian (official language)Romagnol (local dialect)
Capital San Marino
Surface 61 km²
Highest mountain Monte Titano with a height of 749 m
International license plate RSM
Currency Euro (1 € = 100 cents)
Time difference to CET + 1 h
International phone code 00378
Mains voltage, frequency 230 volts, 50 hertz (two- and three-pole plug)
Internet Top Level Domain (TLD) .sm

San Marino History

From the year 1000 to the 17th century

According to tradition, San Marino was founded in 301 by the stonemason Marinus, who came from today’s Croatia and who sought refuge on Monte Titano before the persecution of Christians by Emperor Diocletian.

He is said to have described his refuge as a place of freedom for church and emperor. This makes San Marino the oldest republic.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, the first documentary mentions as Castellum Sancti Marini can be found in the records of the monk Eugippius from around 511 and in the “Feretran judgment” of 885. The earliest fortifications on Monte Titano date from the 10th century. Around the year 1200 the area was enlarged through the purchase of two castles with lands near the mountain. In 1243 the two “Capitani Reggenti” were elected for the first time, each serving as the joint head of state for six months. This tradition of the two captain regents (ratation rule) has been maintained until today, so that far more than 3,000 regents had ruled the small state so far.

The oldest handwritten code of law in the small country dates back to 1295. Despite numerous attempts, the neighboring bishops and princes did not succeed in incorporating the territory of San Marino, which remained independent thanks to its favorable location and the well-trained army. In 1463 Pope Pius II even awarded the republic the three castles Fiorentino, Montegiardino and Serravalle located in the area, in the same year Faetano Castle also voluntarily joined. In 1503 Cesare Borgia (1475-1507) conquered San Marino, but he could not hold his rule for long. In 1599 a constitution was drawn up, the main features of which are still valid in San Marino today.

In the 18th and 19th centuries

In 1739 Cardinal Giulio Alberoni conquered the republic, but had to withdraw six months later on the orders of the Pope. From 1796 Napoléon (1769-1821) gained dominance over the Italian peninsula. In 1797 he offered the small state, whose historical inflexibility he appreciated, two cannons, several loads of grain and a territorial expansion to the Adriatic coast. However, the San Marines only accepted the grain in order to preserve peaceful coexistence with their neighbors in the future.

In the 19th century freedom movements arose across Italy. After the failed revolutions of 1848/49, the Free Republic of San Marino granted asylum for political refugees, including the later co-founder of the unity of Italy, Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882). After the unification of Italy on March 22, 1861, San Marino retained its independence. In 1862 the republic concluded a customs union with Italy.

In the 20th and 21st centuries

In World War I, San Marino remained neutral and some volunteers fought on the Italian side. In 1939 it signed a friendship treaty with Italy, which was ruled by the fascist dictator Mussolini (1883-1945). However, the republic also maintained its neutrality during the Second World War and from 1943 onwards took in numerous Italian refugees to protect them from German attacks. Some of the refugees were in the tunnels of the disused railway from San Marino to Rimini. Despite its neutrality, British planes dropped bombs on San Marino in June 1944. In the post-war period until 1957 and from 1978 to 1986, the citizens of San Marino elected socialist-communist governments. The country’s communist party became the more moderate progressive democratic party in the late 1980s, who ruled in changing coalitions with the Christian Democrats to this day. The republic has been a member of the United Nations since 1992 and the euro was introduced in 2002. The country is debt free.

San Marino Facts