Walls of San Marino

San Marino, The Serene Republic - in a Nutshell

Author: Sue
Date: 26th August 2023

A Brief History of San Marino

  • San Marino supposedly derives its name from Saint Marinus, a stonemason from the then Roman island of Rab, in modern-day Croatia. According to local legend, Marinus had become a Deacon in Rimini, but he was accused by and was ordained by 'an insane woman' of being her estranged husband. So, he fled to Monte Titano to live the life of a hermit. He built a chapel and monastery in AD 301.
  • When, inevitably, the hermits were discovered, Felicissima, a kind lady from Rimini, who owned the land, gave it to the refugees. land. The State of San Marino evolved from there. It lays claim to being the oldest extant sovereign state in the world.
  • San Marino has expanded since those early times. but its borders have remained unchanged since the early fourteenth century. By diplomatic means it has, remarkably, managed to stay neutral and escape invasion (bar the odd short term encroachment) by various popes, cardinals and other nations. Even Napoleon was fobbed off.

Facts and Factoids

  • San Marino is surrounded by Italy (an enclave state, one of only three in the world), but is not in the European Union. It has, however, adopted the euro as its currency.
  • The landscape is mainly hilly. The country's capital city, the City of San Marino, is located atop Monte Titano (739 metres), whilst its largest settlement is Dogana, within the largest municipality of Serravalle.
  • San Marino's official language is Italian.
  • The constitution is modelled on ancient Rome. San Marino is ruled, concurrently, by two Captains Regent. who have equal powers and are elected by the Grand and General Council, every six months.
  • The country's economy is mainly based on finance, industry, services and tourism. It is one of the wealthiest countries in the world in GDP per capita.
  • The official title of San Marino is The Most Serene Republic of San Marino.
  • The people of San Marino are referred to as Sammarinese.

How to Get to San Marino?

  • There's no airport - the nearest is in Italy, at Rimini. Though if you're rich you can come by helicopter. There are helicopter tours.
  • Rimini is only six miles away, most people travel by bus from there. But beware. Read my story here.

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