San Marino -- Geography --
Official Name: Republic of San Marino
Capital City: San Marino (population, 2000 estimate, 4,429), a community perched on the rugged western slopes of Mount Titano. Government offices are located in the town. Other population centers include Borgo Maggiore, a market town located 185 m (600 ft) below the capital on the mountainís lower slopes, and Serravalle, a manufacturing center to the north.
Languages: Italian. Many residents speak Emiliano-Romagnolo, a Romance language similar to Italian, as a first language.
Official Currency: Euro
Population: 29 615 (2008 „.). The population of San Marino (2005 estimate) is 28,880. Nine out of ten people in San Marino live in urbanized areas.
Land Area: 61 sq km
Landforms: Completely surrounded by Italy, the country is in the Appennines Mountains, with most of it on the slopes of Mt. Titano.
Land Divisions: 9 municipalities, including: Acquaviva, Borgo Maggiore, Chiesanuova, Domagnano, Faetano, Fiorentino, Monte Giardino, San Marino, and Serravalle
San Marino -- History --
According to legend, Marino left the island of Rab with his lifelong friend Leon and went to the town of Rimini, where he became a deacon to the bishop Gaudientium. After persecution because of his Christian sermons, he fled to the hill known as Titan, where he built a small church and thus founded what is now the city and the state of San Marino. The official date of foundation of the Republic is 3 September 301 AD. San Marino is thought by many to be Europe's oldest existing republic. The head of state is a committee (council) of two captains.
San Marino -- Economy --
Although San Marino is not an official European Union member, it is allowed to use the euro as its currency by virtue of arrangements with the council of the European Union; it is also granted the right to use its own designs on the national side of the euro coins. Before the Euro, the Sammarinese lira was coupled to and exchangeable with the Italian lira. The small number of Sammarinese euro coins, as was the case with the lire before it, are primarily of interest to coin collectors.
The tourist sector contributes over 50% of San Marino's GDP, with more than 3.3 million tourists visiting in 1997. Other key industries are banking, electronics, and ceramics. The main agricultural products are wine and cheese.
San Marino's postage stamps, which are only valid within the country, are mostly sold to philatelists and also form a source of income.
The per capita level of output and standard of living are comparable to those of Italy, which supplies much of its food.
San Marino -- Culture --
San Marino is a small and ancient country located within the territory of Italy, though it is a sovereign state. The country and its culture are now tourist attractions, though its musical heritage is long and varied. In the 17th century, composers like Francesco Maria Marini di Pesaro wrote some of the finest pieces of the era.
Since 1894, a wordless composition by Federico Consolo has been the national anthem of San Marino. The piece is based off a 10th century chorale composition . The previous anthem was by Aur. Muccioli and U. Balsimelli, and is similar to the Italian national anthem.
The modern military forces of San Marino parade through the streets in full uniform several times a day, accompanied by the sounds of a military brass band.
San Marino -- Political system, law and government --
The Consiglio Grande e Generale ("Grand and General Council") is elected by popular vote every five years. This parliament selects two of its members to serve as Capitani Reggenti ("Ruling Captains") for periods of six months. The Capitani Reggenti and the cabinet form the executive branch of the government.
The Council also elects the Consiglio dei XII (Council of Twelve), which forms the judicial branch during the period of legislature of the Council.