San Marino is the smallest republic of the entire world and one of the least visited countries in all of Western Europe. The reason? Many people don’t know it even exists!
Here are some of the most interesting facts about the country.
1. Geographically, San Marino is 23.6 square miles (61 square kilometres), making it the fifth-smallest country in the world, coming in behind the island nations of Tuvalu, Nauru and other city-states Monaco and the Vatican City.
2. Nestled between Emilia-Romagna and Marche, San Marino is completely enveloped by Italy.
3. San Marino’s borders are a bit complicated. They’re not part of the Schengen Zone, but they do have open borders with Italy (and the Schengen Zone by extension). Since there are no borders, you can’t legally enter the Schengen Zone from San Marino.
4. San Marino did not participate in World War I and World War II, and remained neutral.
5. 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.
6. The country has lost all of their 30 World Cup and European Championship qualifying matches since 2008. Aww you guys!
7. Did you know that sale of postage stamps bring handsome revenue to the country as the San Marino’s postage stamps are valued by collectors all over the world?
8. San Marino depends on Italy for its defense as the country does not have its own deference forces. They however have a small military of their own but nothing to fight in the event of a war or dispute.
9. Even though they inhabit in the same peninsula and have a shared ethnicity, people of San Marino prefer to be called Sammarinese’s instead of Italians since they are proud of the fact that they belong to an independent republic.
10. Did you know that San Marino is the only country in the world with more vehicles than people? There were 1263 vehicles for every 1000 people in the country in 2010.
11. Napoleon also offered to help the country extend its territory (1797), however his offer was politely refused by high ranking officials from the country at that time.
12. In 1940, a false claim was made by press that San Marino had declared war on Britain. It is also said that on account of this false information, the British Royal Air Force bombed the country causing damage to railways and killing 63 civilians. The British government however later regretted their action.
How to reach?
San Marino has no airport and the only way to reach here by taking a flight to Rimini in Italy. From there, you can take a bus or a train to San Marino.
Three Towers: Three fortresses crown the long ridge of Mount Titano, with the city of San Marino clustered at the foot of their walls. The first and earliest of the fortresses is Rocca Guaita, constructed in the 11th century. The second tower, Monte Titano, sits on the highest part of Mt Titano, 756 metres above sea level. The third tower, Montale, sits on its own, isolated from the others.
Castle Towns: Surrounding the capital in the Republic of San Marino are a number of small villages set on peaks and spurs surmounted by castles of their own; most offer excellent views of the countryside and of Mount Titano, and several have interesting histories. Some of them are Serravalle, Faetano, Borgo Maggiore, Montegiardino, and many more.
Palazzo Pubblico: This is effortlessly identifiable in San Marino because of its Gothic style and the decorated facade. Palazzo Pubblico is the formal Town Hall of the state and all the major government affairs and ceremonies happen on this spot. It was designed by the architect Francesco Azzurri in the late 1800s and built of stone quarried on Mount Titano.