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.
Health: Infant mortality rate--5.5/1,000 live births. Life expectancy--
Work force: 15,600; services--58%, industry--40%, agriculture--2%,
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.
PEOPLE AND HISTORY
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
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
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.
U.S.-SAN MARINO RELATIONS
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.  (55) 239-8276/7/8).
TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
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
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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