Map of San Marino- Italy

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San Marino, officially the Republic of San Marino (Italian: Repubblica di San Marino), also known as the Most Serene Republic of 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.

Population

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.

Language

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.

Currency

The lira (plural lire) was the currency of San Marino from the 1860s until the introduction of the euro in 2002. It was equivalent and pegged to the Italian lira.

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History

Saint Marinus left the island of Arba in present-day Croatia with his lifelong friend Leo, and went to the city of Rimini as a stonemason. After the Diocletianic Persecution following 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 state of San Marino. The official date of the founding of what is now known as the Republic is 3 September 301.

In 1631, its independence was recognized by the Papacy.

The advance of Napoleon’s army in 1797 presented a brief threat to the independence of San Marino, but the country was saved from losing its liberty thanks to one of its Regents, Antonio Onofri, who managed to gain the respect and friendship of Napoleon. Thanks to his intervention, Napoleon, in a letter delivered to Gaspard Monge, scientist and commissary of the French Government for Science and Art, promised to guarantee and protect the independence of the Republic, even offering to extend its territory according to its needs. The offer was declined by the Regents, fearing future retaliation from other states’ revanchism.

During the later phase of the Italian unification process in the 19th century, San Marino served as a refuge for many people persecuted because of their support for unification. In recognition of this support, Giuseppe Garibaldi accepted the wish of San Marino not to be incorporated into the new Italian state.

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 World War I, when Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary on 23 May 1915, San Marino remained neutral and Italy adopted a hostile view of Sammarinese neutrality, suspecting that San Marino could harbor Austrian spies who could be given access to its new radiotelegraph station. Italy tried to forcibly establish a detachment of Carabinieri in the republic and then cut the republic’s telephone lines when it did not comply. Two groups of ten volunteers joined Italian forces in the fighting on the Italian front, the first as combatants and the second as a medical corps operating a Red Cross field hospital. The existence of this hospital later caused Austria-Hungary to suspend diplomatic relations with San Marino.

From 1923 to 1943, San Marino was under the rule of the Sammarinese Fascist Party (PFS).

During World War II, San Marino remained neutral, although it was wrongly reported in an article from The New York Times that it had declared war on the United Kingdom on 17 September 1940.The Sammarinese government later transmitted a message to the British government stating that they had not declared war on the United Kingdom.

Three days after the fall of Benito Mussolini in Italy, PFS rule collapsed and the new government declared neutrality in the conflict. The Fascists regained power on 1 April 1944 but kept neutrality intact. Despite that, on 26 June 1944 San Marino was bombed by the Royal Air Force, in the belief that San Marino had been overrun by German forces and was being used to amass stores and ammunition. The Sammarinese government declared on the same day that no military installations or equipment were located on its territory, and that no belligerent forces had been allowed to enter. San Marino accepted thousands of civilian refugees when Allied forces went over the Gothic Line. In September 1944, it was briefly occupied by German forces, who were defeated by Allied forces in the Battle of San Marino.

San Marino had the world’s first democratically elected communist government – a coalition between the Sammarinese Communist Party and the Sammarinese Socialist Party, which held office between 1945 and 1957.

San Marino is the world’s smallest republic, although when Nauru gained independence in 1968 it challenged that claim, Nauru’s land mass being only 21 km2 (8.1 sq mi). However Nauru’s jurisdiction over its surrounding waters covers 431,000 km2 (166,000 sq mi), an area thousands of times greater than the territory of San Marino.

San Marino became a member of the Council of Europe in 1988 and of the United Nations in 1992. It is neither a member of the European Union, nor of the Eurozone although it uses the euro as its currency.

Geography

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.

Climate

The climate is Mediterranean with continental influences, having warm summers and cool winters that are typical of inland areas of the central Italian peninsula.

Religion

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.

Transport

There are 220 km (140 mi) of roads in the country, the main road being the San Marino Highway. Authorities license private vehicles with distinctive Sammarinese license plates, which are white with blue figures and 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 public airports in San Marino, but there is a small private airstrip located in Torraccia and 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, then make the transfer by bus.

Two rivers flow through San Marino, but there is no major water transport, and no port or harbour.

Public transport

San Marino has limited public transport facilities. There is a regular bus service between Rimini and the city of San Marino that is popular with both tourists and workers commuting to San Marino from Italy. This service stops at approximately twenty locations in Rimini and within San Marino, with its two terminus stops at Rimini railway station and San Marino coach station.

A limited licensed taxi service operates nationwide. There are seven licensed taxi companies operating 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 (0.93 mi) 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. From here a further connection is available to the nation’s largest settlement, Dogana, via the local bus service.

Two aerial tramway cars (gondolas) operate, with service provided at roughly fifteen-minute intervals throughout the day. A third vehicle is available on the system, a service car for the use of engineers maintaining the tramway.

Railway

Today, there is no railway in San Marino, but for a short period before World War II, it had a single narrow-gauge line, connecting the country with the Italian rail network at Rimini. Because of the difficulties in accessing the capital, City of San Marino, with its mountain-top location, the terminus station was planned to be located in the village of Valdragone, but was extended to reach the capital through a steep and winding track comprising many tunnels. The railway was opened on 12 June 1932. An advanced system for its time, it was an electric railway, powered from overhead cables. It was well built and had a high frequency of passengers, but was almost completely destroyed during World War II. Many facilities such as bridges, tunnels, and stations remain visible today, and some have been converted to parks, public footpaths, or traffic routes.

Culture

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 11th 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.

 

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