Widely known as “The Most Serene Republic of San Marino or Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino”, the country is also famous for providing shelter to Giuseppe Garibaldi during his attempts to bring Italy under a single head in the 1860s. The reason behind San Marino’s existence as an autonomous state is the promise made by Garibaldi.
Located at the Southern part of Europe, todays San Marino, apart from being one of the smallest nations in the world, is also a European microstate ranking after Vatican and Monaco; San Marino is dominated by the Apennines mountain range and is situated in the continent’s southern part, near the borders of Italy.
Placed between the regions of Emilia-Romagna and Marche on the border of Italy, San Marino’s topography reveals the Apennines mountain range as its prime feature. The tract of San Marino is rugged by nature, with its highest point being the Monte Titano. The peak stands at a height of 749 m above the sea level; however, no prominent or significant water bodies are present within San Marino. Area wise, San Marino ranks as the third-smallest within Europe; the Vatican City and Monaco being the others to follow.
Being near and a part of Italy, San Marino has the typical Mediterranean climate - the warm summers and the mild winters being the most prominent features.
San Marino, the autonomous nation, though depends largely on Italy, is the oldest republic of the world that still happens to exist. Credits for laying its foundation stones go to St. Marinus, a skilled craftsman who initiated the whole process in the year 301 CE. A part of the then existing Roman Empire, the written constitution for San Marino was adopted on October 8, 1600. The country came into limelight for the first time in 1797; the responsibility for which goes to France under the rule of Napoleon and then by the other European nations in the 1815 Congress of Vienna. It’s since then that San Marino is considered a territory of Italy.
The tourism industry of San Marino occupies more than 50% of the economic sector (GDP); the government, apart from earning through taxes and customs, also promotes the sale of coins and postage stamps. The Italian Government pays San Marino an annual budget subsidy provided under the terms of the Basic Treaty with Italy. Although not an official European Union member, the use of the euro is allowed by virtue of arrangements with the council of the European Union.
Cable car in San Marino
At first it was the Arengo that used to rule over San Marino; Arengo was a governing body comprising of the heads from every powerful family of the country until the 13th century. The power was then transferred to the Great and General Council, who, in 1243, introduced the post of Capitani Reggenti as the ruling head, a method which still remains in practice. The council is known as The Consiglio Grande e Generale colloquially, and is elected by the inhabitants of San Marino, once every five years. The Capitani Reggenti post is given to two of the members of the council and is valid for six months. The Capitani Reggenti and the cabinet also happen to be the executive branch of the San Marino government. The Consiglio dei XII or the Council of Twelve is another political body that forms the judicial branch during the period of legislature of the Council, and is also elected by the General Council.
The Grand and General Council comprises of 60 members who come from all the nine administrative districts or townships and is a part of the Legislative body; the other parts being the parliament and a unicameral Chamber. The parliament has five distinct Advising Commissions with 15 councils in total. They function as the examiners and proposal makers for the implementation of new laws, which finally receive the green signal from the Great and General Council. The dual-head government is an extension of the ancient customs of the Roman Republic, making The Council equivalent to the Roman Senate and the Capitanis, the consuls of ancient Rome.
Being a multi-party democratic republic, San Marino currently hosts three main political parties: The Democratic Christian Party of San Marino (PDCS), the Socialist Party of San Marino (PSS), and the Progressive Democratic Party of San Marino (PPDS), though the country’s low population makes it difficult for the parties to rule supreme. Thus the government runs on a coalition policy.