San Marino is a country located in central Italy on the slopes of Mount Titano. It is surrounded on all sides by Italy and it’s the smallest independent state in Europe after Monaco and the Vatican City. It used to be the smallest republic in the world until Nauru achieved its independence in 1968.
Keep reading for 13 facts about this small country in Europe.
San Marino Facts
1. It existed since the 4th century
The Republic of San Marino was established in the early 4th century when Saint Marinus and other Christians settled in this area to escape persecution. By the 12th century, this region had developed into a commune that was ruled by its own statutes and consuls. It is the only Italian City-State that has remained independent until the present time, a fun fact about San Marino. One of the reasons could be that it is surrounded by a mountain fortress.
2. Tourism in San Marino is expanding
Tourism is the economic sector that is expanding the most. Tourists enjoy traditional tourism but also excursion tourism to their numerous mountains. In addition, they rely on commerce, crafts and agriculture for their economy. In San Marino, there is also an important manufacturing sector. It includes paint, electronics, cosmetics, jewelry, ceramics and clothing.
Agriculture is also vital to San Marino and they cultivate grapes and barley mostly. Livestock and dairying are also important to this nation.
3. San Marino is one of the smallest countries that exist
The territory San Marino occupies is of 23.6 square miles or 61 square kilometers. This makes it the fifth-smallest country in the world with an estimated population of 33,559 people.
4. Abraham Lincoln became an honorary citizen
An interesting fact about San Marino is that the former US President Abraham Lincoln became an honorary citizen of this country in 1861. When he was elected President of the United States, San Marino wrote him a letter to congratulate him. He replied with another letter sent to the Captains Regent where he expressed his admiration for this nation. Because of this, he was granted citizenship. Later, the Sammarinese placed a bust of Abraham Lincoln inside their parliament building.
5. They do not refuse sanctuary
San Marino does not refuse political sanctuary to anyone who is being persecuted. One of those who sought safety in this nation was Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1849 when he was surrounded by three enemy armies. To thank them for their help, Garibaldi intervened to exclude them from Italy’s Unification in 1867. During World War II, they gave shelter and asylum to around 100,000 people from the surrounding areas that were being bombed.
6. This was one of the first countries to establish a regular postal service
A paid postal service was opened to all residents of San Marino in 1607. Then, in 1877, the first postage stamps were issued. They have also developed special stamps to pay tribute to cultural and historical events, as well as personalities.
Because of the limited production of stamps related to San Marino, it has become of interest to philatelists and collectors for many years.
7. The official currency is the Euro, although they are not part of the EU
San Marino is not part of the European Union or the Eurozone. However, they use the Euro as the official national currenc, an interesting fact about San Marino.. Before adopting this currency they used the Italian lira. They have official relations with the European Union as a Third State since 1983.
8. San Marino has two languages
The residents of San Marino speak Italian but they also speak Romagnol. This is an old dialect that is spoken by the people of the Emilia-Romagna region and its surroundings.
9. They may have the oldest national constitution in the world
It is believed that San Marino has the oldest national constitution in the world. This document was drafted in 1600 in Latin and it consists of a series of six books called The Statutes of 1600. However, some scholars debate as to whether this can be classified as a constitution or not.
10. It is the least visited nation in Europe
San Marino received in 2017 only 60,000 visits. This earned the nation the title of the “Least Visited Country in Europe”, a fun fact about San Marino. The main reason may be that not many people know that this country exists!
11. The highest point in San Marino reaches 739 meters
The highest place in San Marino is the peak of Mount Titano which reaches 739 meters. At the peak, people can enjoy amazing views that stretch all the way to the Adriatic Sea. This mountain, however, has three peaks. On the top, each one has a tower: Guaita, Cesta and Montale.
The tower of Montale is privately owned and tourists cannot visit it, but the other two are open to the public.
12. There are more vehicles than people
This is the only country in the world where there are more vehicles than people. In 2010, for every 1,000 people, there were 1,263 vehicles.
13. On average, the yearly income per person is of $36,000
San Marino’s income economy is considered to be high. There is an average yearly income per capita of approximately $36,000. In addition, in terms of Gross Domestic Product per capita, it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
Despite it being a very small nation, San Marino has a lot of history, dating all the way back to the 4th century. It is a land that has seen modern history come and pass and a republic that has withstood invasions, wars and much more.
I hope that this article on San Marino facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!