U.S. Department of State
Background Notes: San Marino, November 1998

Official Name: Republic of San Marino



Area: 60 sq. km.; about one-third the size of Washington, DC.
Cities: Capital--San Marino (pop. 4,352). Other cities--Serravalle, 
Borgo Maggiore, Domagnano.
Terrain: Rugged mountains.
Climate: Mediterranean; mild to cool winters; warm, sunny summers.


Nationality: Noun and adjective--Sammarinese.
Population (1997 est.): 24,714.
Annual growth rate (1997 est.): 0.76%.
Ethnic groups: Sammarinese, Italian.
Religion: Roman Catholic.
Language: Italian.
Education: Literacy--96%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--5.5/1,000 live births. Life expectancy--
81 years.
Work force: 15,600; services--58%, industry--40%,  agriculture--2%, 
unemployment 3.6%.


Type: Republic.
Constitution: October 8, 1600; electoral law of 1926 and manuscript of 
rights (1974) serve some of the functions of a Constitution.
Branches: Executive--Captains Regent (co-chiefs of state), Congress of 
State (cabinet) elected by the Great and General Council, Secretary of 
State for Foreign and Political Affairs (head of government).  
Legislative--unicameral parliament: 60-member Great and General 
Council.  Judicial--Council of Twelve.
Administrative divisions: 9 municipalities.
Political parties: Christian Democratic Party, Democratic Progressive 
Party, San Marino Socialist Party, Democratic Movement, Popular 
Alliance, Communist Refoundation.
Suffrage: Universal over 18.


GDP: $500 million.
Per capita income: $16,900.
GDP growth: 4.8%.
Natural resources: Building stone.
Agriculture: Products--wheat, grapes, maize, olives; cattle, pigs, 
horses, meat, cheese, hides.
Industry: Types--tourism, textiles, electronics, ceramics, cement, 
Trade: Exports--85% to Italy. Imports--manufactured goods, food.  
Partners--Italy, eastern Europe, South America, China, Taiwan.


San Marino is comprised of native Sammarinese and Italian citizens.  
Crop farming, sheep farming and the working of stone from the quarries 
formed the early backbone of San Marino's economy.  San Marino has no 
mineral resources, and today most of the land is cultivated or covered 
by woods.  

According to tradition, San Marino was founded in AD 301 when a 
Christian stonemason named Marinus the Dalmation fled the island of 
Arbe to escape the anti-Christian Roman Emperor Diocletian.  Marinus 
hid on the peak of Mount Titano and founded a small community of people 
following their Christian beliefs.  It is certain that the area had 
been inhabited since prehistoric times, although evidence of existence 
on Mount Titano dates back only to the Middle Ages.  In memory of the 
stone cutter, the land was renamed "Land of San Marino," then called 
the "Community of San Marino," and was finally changed to its present-
day name, "Republic of San Marino."

The original government structure was composed of a self-governed 
assembly known as the Arengo, which consisted of the heads of each 
family.  In 1243, the positions of Captains Regent (Capitani Reggenti) 
were established to be the joint heads of state.

The land area of San Marino consisted only of Mount Titano until 1463, 
when the republic entered into an alliance against Sigismondo Pandolfo 
Malatesta, Lord of Rimini, who was later defeated.  As a result, Pope 
Pius II Piccolomini gave San Marino the towns of Fiorentino, 
Montegiardino, and Serravalle.  Later that year, the town of Faetano 
joined the republic on its own accord.  Since then, the size of the 
country has remained the same.

San Marino has been occupied by foreign militaries twice in its 
history, both for only short periods of time.  In 1503 Cesare Borgia, 
known as Valentino, occupied the republic until his death several 
months later.  In 1739, Cardinal Alberoni used military force to occupy 
the country, but civil disobedience was used to protest this, and 
clandestine notes sent to the Pope to obtain justice were answered by 
the Pope's recognition of San Marino's rights and restoration of 


The Arengo, initially formed with the heads of each family, turned its 
power over to the Great and General Council; today the Arengo is the 
electoral body.  In 1243, the first two Captains Regent were nominated 
by the Council, and this system still stands.  The Council is composed 
of 60 members who are elected every 5 years under a proportional 
representation system in all nine administrative districts.  These 
districts (Townships) correspond to the old parishes of the Republic 
and each one is ruled by a Council which is chaired by a Captain 
elected every 5 years.  The duties of the Great and General Council are 
the approval of the budget and the nominations of Captains Regent and 
heads of the Executive.

Every 6 months, the Council elects two Captains Regent to be the Heads 
of State.  The Regents are chosen from opposing parties so they can 
keep an eye on each other. They serve a 6-month term.  The investiture 
of the Captains Regent takes place on April 1 and October 1 every year.  
Once the term is over, citizens have 3 days in which to file complaints 
about the Regents' activities.  If they warrant it, judicial 
proceedings against the ex-head(s) of state can be initiated.

The State Congress, composed of three Secretaries and seven Ministries, 
wields executive power.  The three Secretaries are: Secretary of State 
for Foreign and Political Affairs, Secretary of State for Internal 
Affairs and Civil Defense, and Secretary of State for Finance, Budget 
and Programming, Information and Relations with the State Philatelic 
and Numismatic Office.  The seven Ministries are Education, Culture, 
University and Justice; Territory, Environment and Agriculture; Health 
and Social Security; Trade and Relations with the Town Councils; 
Communication, Transport, Relations with the Azienda Autonoma di Stato 
for Services, Tourism and Sport; Industry and Crafts; and Labour and 

The Council of Twelve is elected by the Great and General Council for 
the duration of the Legislature and serves as a jurisdictional body 
that also acts as a third-instance Court of Appeals.  Two government 
inspectors represent the State in financial and patrimonial questions.

The Legislative body consists of the Great and General Council, the 
parliament, and a unilateral Chamber.  The members of parliament are 
usually elected every 5 years and they are in charge of legislation, 
justice, and the administration of jurisdiction.  In addition, they are 
tasked with electing the Captains Regent, the State Congress, the 
Council of Twelve, the Advising Commission, and the Government Unions 
once the Council nominates them.  Parliament also has the power to 
ratify contracts with other countries.  The parliament is divided into 
five different Advising Commissions consisting of 15 councils which 
examine, propose, and discuss implementation of new laws that are on 
their way to being submitted to the Great and General Council.

The judicial system of San Marino is entrusted to foreign executives, 
both for historical and social reasons.  The only native judges are the 
Justices of the Peace, who handle only civil cases where sums involved 
do not exceed 25 million lire.  The Council of Twelve serves as an 
appeals court in the third instance.

Principal Government Officials

Captains Regent - Pietro Berti and Paolo Bollini   (October 1, 1998- 
March 31, 1999)
Secretary of State for Foreign and Political Affairs--Gabriele Gatti

San Marino has honorary Consulates General in Washington, DC and New 
York City, and an honorary Consulate in Detroit.

The Consulate General in Washington, DC is located at 1899 L Street NW, 
Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036.  The phone number for the Consulate 
General is (202) 223-3517.

The Republic of San Marino's Web Site provides information on politics, 
trade and events in San Marino.  The Republic of San Marino's Web Site 
address is: http://www.omniway.sm/


San Marino is a multi-party democratic republic.  The three main 
political parties are the Democratic Christian Party of San Marino 
(PDCS), the Socialist Party of San Marino (PSS), and the Progressive 
Democratic Party of San Marino (PPDS) as well as several other smaller 
parties.  Due to the small size of San Marino and the 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.  The current parties in 
power are the Democratic Christian Party and the Socialist Party.  

As tourism accounts for more than 50% of the economic sector, the 
government relies not only on taxes and customs for revenue, but also 
the sale of coins and postage stamps to collectors from throughout the 
world.  In addition, the Italian Government pays San Marino an annual 
budget subsidy provided under the terms of the Basic Treaty with Italy.

The main issues facing the  current government include economic and 
administrative problems related to San Marino's status as a close 
financial and trading partner with Italy while at the same time 
remaining separated from the European Union (EU).  The other priority 
issue will be to increase the transparency and efficiency in parliament 
and in relations among parliament, cabinet, and the Captains Regent.

The current Parliament and Captains Regent, which confirm the last 
ruling coalition, reflect the stable economic situation in San Marino 
arising from having the lowest unemployment rate in Europe, a state 
budget surplus, and no national debt.


San Marino's GDP in 1995 was $500 million, with more than 50% of that 
coming from the tourism industry (on average, more than 3.4 million 
visitors annually).  One of the largest sources of income from tourism 
is the sale of historic coins and stamps.  In 1894, San Marino issued 
the first commemorative stamps, which since then have been part of a 
large livelihood in the republic.  All 10 of the Post Offices of San 
Marino sell these stamps and collectable coins, including "Legal Gold 
Tender Coins."

Traditional economic activities in San Marino were raising food crops, 
sheep farming, and stone quarrying.  Today farming activities focus on 
grain, vines, and orchards, as well as animal husbandry (cattle and 
swine).  Besides the tourism industry, San Marino makes most of its 
income from the manufacture and export of ceramics, tiles, furniture, 
clothing, paints, fabrics, and spirits/wines.  

The per capita level of output and standard of living are comparable to 
those of Italy. 


San Marino is an active player in the international community.  
Currently, the Republic has diplomatic relations with more than 70 

San Marino is a full member of the United Nations, International Court 
of Justice, 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, International Institution 
for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), among others.  It also 
cooperates with UNICEF and the United Nations High Commission for 
Refugees, and has official relations with the European Union.  From May 
10 until November 6, 1990, San Marino held the 6-month presidency of 
the European Council of Ministers.


The United States and San Marino enjoy friendly diplomatic relations.  
The two countries are on excellent terms.  The U.S. includes San Marino 
within the Florence consular district, and United States consulate 
general officers visit San Marino regularly.

Principal U.S. Official

Hilarion Martinez is the U.S. Consul General in Florence and the 
representative of the U.S. Government to San Marino.  The U.S. 
Consulate General is at Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci, 38, 50123 Firenze, 
Italy (tel. [39] (55) 239-8276/7/8).


The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program provides 
Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets. Travel Warnings are 
issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel 
to a certain country. Consular Information Sheetsexist for all 
countries and include information on immigration practices, currency 
regulations, health conditions, areas of instability, crime and 
security, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. posts 
in the country. Public Announcements are issued as a means to 
disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats and other 
relatively short-term conditions overseas which pose significant risks 
to the security of American travelers. Free copies of this information 
are available by calling the Bureau of Consular Affairs at 202-647-5225 
or via the fax-on-demand system: 202-647-3000. Travel Warnings and 
Consular Information Sheets also are available on the Consular Affairs 
Internet home page: http://travel.state.gov and the Consular Affairs 
Bulletin Board (CABB). To access CABB, dial the modem number: (301-946-
4400 (it will accommodate up to 33,600 bps), set terminal 
communications program to N-8-1 (no parity, 8 bits, 1 stop bit); and 
terminal emulation to VT100. The login is traveland the password is 
info (Note: Lower case is required). The CABB also carries 
international security information from the Overseas Security Advisory 
Council and Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Consular 
Affairs Trips for Travelers publication series, which contain 
information on obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad, can 
be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government 
Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954; telephone: 
202-512-1800; fax 202-512-2250. 

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be 
obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-
5225. For after-hours emergencies, Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-

Passport Services information can be obtained by calling the 24-hour, 
7-day a week automated system ($.35 per minute) or live operators 8 
a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday ($1.05 per minute). The number is 1-
900-225-5674 (TDD: 1-900-225-7778). Major credit card users (for a flat 
rate of $4.95) may call 1-888-362-8668 (TDD: 1-888-498-3648) 

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers 
for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The CDC hotline at 877 FYI-TRIP (877 394-8747) gives the most recent 
health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and 
advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries.  
This information is also on the web at: 
http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm.  A booklet entitled Health 
Information for International Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-
8280) is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, 
Washington, DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.

Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and 
customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest to 
travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a country's 
embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see "Principal 
Government Officials" listing in this publication). 

U.S. citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous 
areas are encouraged to register at the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a 
country (see "Principal U.S. Embassy Officials" listing in this 
publication). This may help family members contact you in case of an 

Further Electronic Information: 

Department of State Foreign Affairs Network. Available on the Internet, 
DOSFAN provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy 
information. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes Background Notes; Dispatch, 
the official magazine of U.S. foreign policy; daily press briefings; 
Country Commercial Guides; directories of key officers of foreign 
service posts; etc. DOSFAN's World Wide Web site is at 

U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published annually by the U.S. 
Department of State, USFAC archives information on the Department of 
State Foreign Affairs Network, and includes an array of official 
foreign policy information from 1990 to the present. Contact the 
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 
371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. To order, call (202) 512-1800 or fax 
(202) 512-2250.

National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). Operated by the U.S. Department of 
Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related information. It 
is available on the Internet (www.stat-usa.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the 
NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-1986 for more information.  

[End of Document]

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