In our February 2011 print newsletter, Sharon Sanders takes us on an intriguing visit to San Marino – the small republic tucked in between the Italian regions of Emilia-Romagna and Le Marche. Her extensive articles on what to do, where to stay and where to eat in this storybook destination are available to paid subscribers and are an essential resource for adding a visit on to your travels through central Italy. Here are a few fun, fascinating facts to whet your appetite for this tiny jewel:
- San Marino is about 24 square miles. It is the third smallest country in Europe, after Vatican City and Monaco.
- San Marino is the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world. The official date of its founding is September 3, 301. Yes, that’s the year 301.
- The constitution of San Marino, enacted in 1600, is the world’s oldest constitution still in effect.
- In terms of per capita GDP, San Marino is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It also enjoys a budget surplus and no national debt.
- 30,000 people live in San Marino – about 1,000 of them are foreigners, mostly Italians.
- Italian is San Marino’s official language and the euro is the official currency.
- With no border formalities, passage from Italy to San Marino is seamless. Foreign visitors may enter without showing a passport. If you’d like your passport stamped as a souvenir, there’s a 5-euro charge.
Photo by Paolo C., flickr.com