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This article is about the country in southern Europe. For other uses, see San Marino (disambiguation). Most Serene Republic of San Marino Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino is a country situated in the Apennine Mountains. It is a landlocked enclave, completely surrounded by Italy. Its size is just over 60 km2 with an estimated population of almost 30000. Its capital is the City of San Marino. One of the European microstates along with Liechtenstein, the Vatican, Monaco, Andorra, and Malta, San Marino has the smallest population of all the members of the Council of Europe. San Marino is the oldest recorded sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world, having been founded on 3 September 301 by stonecutter Marinus of Rab. Legend has it that Marinus left Rab, then a Roman colony, in 257 when the future emperor, Diocletian, issued a decree calling for the reconstruction of the city walls of Rimini, which had been destroyed by Liburnian pirates.
According to tradition, Saint Marinus left the island of Rab in Croatia with his lifelong friend, Leo, and went to the city of Rimini as a mason. 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 the state of San Marino. The official date of foundation of the Republic is 3 September 301.
By the mid-fifth century, a community was formed; because of its relatively inaccessible location and its poverty, it has succeeded, with a few brief interruptions, in maintaining its independence. 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 spared 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, with a letter delivered to Gasparre Monge, scientist and commissary of the French Government for Science and Art, promised to guarantee and protect the independence of the Republic, offering to extend its territory according to its needs. The offer was declined by San Marino, fearing to provoke future revanchism that might threaten its freedom.
San Marino is an enclave in Italy, on the border between the regioni of Emilia Romagna and Marche. Its topography is dominated by the Apennines mountain range, and it has a rugged terrain. The highest point in the country, the summit of Monte Titano, is situated at 749 m (2457 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. San Marino has no level natural land; 100% of the nation-state is built on top of the range.
The politics of San Marino takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Captains Regent are the heads of state, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Grand and General Council. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
San Marino originally was led by the Arengo, initially formed with the heads of each family. In the thirteenth century, power was given to the Great and General Council. In 1243, the first two Captains Regent were nominated by the Council. This method of nomination is still in use today, as of 2008.
The legislature of the republic is the Grand and General Council (Consiglio grande e generale). The Council is a unicameral legislature which has sixty members, with elections occurring every five years under a proportional representation system in all nine administrative districts. These districts (townships) correspond to the old parishes of the republic.
Citizens eighteen years or older are eligible to vote. Beside general legislation, the Grand and General Council approves the budget and elects the Captains Regent, the State Congress (composed of ten Secretaries with executive power), the Council of Twelve (which forms the judicial branch during the period of legislature of the Council), the Advising Commissions, and the Government Unions. The Council also has the power to ratify treaties with other countries. The Council is divided into five different Advising Commissions consisting of fifteen councilors who examine, propose, and discuss the implementation of new laws that are on their way to being presented on the floor of the Council.
Every six months, the Council elects two Captains Regent to be the heads of state. The Regents are chosen from opposing parties so there is a balance of power. They serve a six-month term. The investiture of the Captains Regent takes place on 1 April and 1 October in every year. Once this term is over, citizens have three days in which to file complaints about the Captains' activities. If they warrant it, judicial proceedings against the ex-head(s) of state can be initiated.
The practice of multiple heads of state, as well as the frequent re-election of the heads of state, are derived directly from the customs of the Roman Republic. The Council is equivalent to the Roman Senate; the Captains Regent, to the consuls of ancient Rome.
San Marino is a multi-party democratic republic. The two main parties are the San Marinese Christian Democratic Party (PDCS) and the Party of Socialists and Democrats (PSD, a merger of the Socialist Party of San Marino and the former communist Party of Democrats) in addition to several other smaller parties, such as the San Marinese Communist Refoundation.
Due to the small size of San Marino and its low population, it is difficult for any party to gain a pure majority and most of the time the government is run by a coalition. In the June 2006 election the PSD won twenty seats on the Council and currently governs in coalition with the (liberal) Popular Alliance of Sammarinese Democrats for the Republic and United Left.
San Marino is an active player in the international community. Currently, the Republic has diplomatic relations with over 70 countries. Italy is the only country represented by an ambassador resident in San Marino. The Papal Nuncio, based in Rome, is the dean of San Marino's diplomatic corps.
San Marino is a full member of the United Nations (UN), International Court of Justice (ICJ), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Health Organization (WHO), World Tourism Organization (WTO), Council of Europe, International Red Cross Organization, the International Institution for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIIT), and Interpol, among others.
It also cooperates with UNICEF and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and has official relations with the European Union (EU). From May-November 1990 and from November 2006-May 2007, San Marino held the semi-annual presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, headquartered in Strasbourg, France.
Although San Marino is not a European Union member, it is allowed to use the euro as its currency by arrangement 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 pegged to, and exchangeable with, the Italian lira. The small number of Sammarinese euro coins, as was the case with the lira 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 for mail within the country, are mostly sold to philatelists and are a source of income. San Marino is a member of the Small European Postal Administration Cooperation.
The per capita level of US$55449 and standard of living are comparable to those of Switzerland, San Marino imports goods such as food from Italy.
The corporate profits tax rate in San Marino is 19 percent. Capital gains are subject to a five percent tax; interest is subject to a 13 percent withholding tax.
In 1972, a value added taxation (VAT) system was introduced in Italy, and was applied in San Marino, in accordance with the 1939 friendship treaty. In addition, a tax on imported goods, to be levied by San Marino, was established. Such taxes, however, were not, and are not, applied to national products. Until 1996, goods manufactured and sold in San Marino were not subject to indirect taxation.
Under the European Union customs agreement, San Marino continues to levy taxes, the equivalent of an import duty, on imported goods. Also, a general VAT was introduced, in replacement of the Italian VAT.
San Marino has one of the smallest military forces in the world. National defence is, by arrangement, the responsibility of Italy's armed forces. Different branches have varied functions including: performing ceremonial duties; patrolling borders; mounting guard at government buildings; and assisting police in major criminal cases.
Although once at the heart of San Marino's army, the Crossbow Corps is now a ceremonial force of approximately eighty volunteers. Since 1295, the Crossbow Corps has provided demonstrations of crossbow shooting at festivals. Its uniform is medieval in design, and although a statutory military unit, it has no military function today.
Guard of the Rock
The Guard of the Rock is a front-line military unit in the San Marino armed forces, a state border patrol, with responsibility for patrolling borders and defending them. In their role as Fortress Guards they are responsible for guarding the Palazzo Pubblico in San Marino City, the seat of national Government. In this role they are the forces most visible to tourists, and are known for their colourful ceremony of Changing the Guard. Under the 1987 statute the Guard of the Rock are all enrolled as 'Criminal Police Officers' (in addition to their military role) and assist the police in investigating major crime. The uniform of the Guard of the Rock is a distinctive red and green.
Guard of the Council Great and General
Guard of the Council member
The Guard of the Council Great and General commonly known as The Guard of the Council or locally as the 'Guard of Nobles', formed in 1740, is a volunteer unit with ceremonial duties. Due to its striking blue, white, and gold uniform, it is perhaps the best-known part of the Sammarinese military, and appears on countless postcard views of the republic. The functions of the Guard of the Council are to protect the Captains Regent, and to defend the Great and General Council during its formal sessions. They also provide a ceremonial bodyguard to government officials on festivals of both state and church.
The Army Militia
In former times, all families with two or more adult male members were required to enroll half of them in the Army Militia. This unit remains the basic fighting force of the armed forces of San Marino, but is largely ceremonial. It is a matter of civic pride for many San-Marinese to belong to the force, and all citizens with at least six years residence in the republic are entitled to enroll.
The uniform is dark blue, with a kepi bearing a blue and white plume. The ceremonial form of the uniform includes a white cross-strap, and white and blue sash, white epaulets, and white decorated cuffs.
In the 13th century, Italy was beset by the strife of two parties, the Ghibellines and the Guelphs. While the conflict was local and personal in origin, the parties had come to be associated with the two universal powers: the Ghibellines sided with the Emperor and his rule of Italy, while the Guelphs sided with the Pope, who supported self-governing city-states.
Coat of arms of the House of della Gherardesca
Pisa was controlled by the Ghibellines, while most of the surrounding cities were controlled by the Guelphs, most notably Pisa's trading rivals Genoa and Florence. Under the circumstances, Pisa adopted the "strong and vigilant government" of a podestà "armed with almost despotic power"
Ugolino was born in Pisa into the Gherardesca, a noble family of Sardic origins whose alliance with the Hohenstaufen Emperors had brought to prominence in Tuscany and made them the leaders of the Ghibellines in Pisa.
After King Enzio of Sardinia, an illegitimate son of Emperor Frederick II was captured in 1249, Ugolino was appointed governor of Sardinia in 1252 and remained in this position until 1259, when the island was conquered by Genoa.
After his term in Sardinia, Ugolino inherited the title of a Count of Donoratico. As head of his family, the Ghibelline party and podestà of Pisa, Ugolino took action to preserve his power in the face of the political hostility of Pisa's neighbours. In 1271, through a marriage of his sister with Giovanni Visconti, judge of Gallura, he allied himself with the Visconti, the leaders of the Guelphs in Pisa. In doing so, he aroused the suspicions of his fellow Ghibellines.