Centre d'Information sur les Institutions Européennes

Centre d'Information sur les Institutions Européennes (CIIE)

San Marino

  • Accession to the Council of Europe: 1988
  • Area : 61,2 km2
  • Population : 32 166 inhabitants (2014)
  • Capital : Saint-Marin
  • Official language : Italian
  • Predominant religion : Catholicism 
  • Government type : Parliamentary Republic
  • Head of government : Two Captains regents with a term of 6 months: Alessandro Mancini and Grazia Zafferani since April  2020
  • International code : + 378
  • National holiday : September 3

San Marino was founded more than 17 centuries ago, making it the oldest republic in the world. In addition, it is also the smallest European state.

Palazzo nocturne © Permanent Representation of San Marino to the Council of Europe

  • 301 : San Marino was founded by Dalmatian Masons who fled from the Roman Empire in an attempt to evade religious persecution by Emperor Diocletian.
  • 885 : The name Saint Marino was cited in a document for the first time with specific reference to its territory.
  • 1243 : Nomination of 2 premier consuls: the Regent’s Captains.
  • 1463 : The Republic of Saint Marino expanded to its modern-day size.
  • 1503 : Cesare Borgia temporarily invades San Marino
  • 1749 : Cardinal Giulio Alberoni Giulio Cardinal, papal legate in Romagna, occupied the Republic for a few months, until Pope Clement XII ordered him to withdraw. This is the second and final time in its history that the country’s sovereignty is violated.
  • 1796 : Napoleon wanted to honor the small Republic he admired by offering it a territorial extension to the sea, but San Marino refused the offer.
  • 1849 : Giuseppe Garibaldi took refuge in San Marino, and received the citizenship of San Marino a few years later.
  • 1865 : San Marino is the first European country, and third country in the world, to abolish the death penalty.
  • 1940-1945 : During the Second World War: San Marino remains neutral.
  • 1981 : San Marino elects its first female head of state, Captain Regent Maria Lea Pedini.
  • 1988 : San Marino joins the Council of Europe
  • 1991 : Saint Marino signs a Cooperatrion and Customs Union Agreement with the EU.
  • 2001 : Signing of the Monetary Convention with Italy, on behlaf of the EU, so that San Marino can adopt the euro as the official currency.
  • 2002 : Introduction of the Euro.
  • 1992 : San Marino joins the United Nations
  • 1995 : San Marino signs an accord of cooperation with the EU and takes part in the EU customs union.
  • Novembre 2006 – mai 2007 : For the second time, San Marino holds the presidency of the Council of Europe. Over the course of the term, San Marino promoted intercultural and interreligious dialogue, struck an accord of cooperation between the Council and the EU, increased the efficiency of the Court of Human Rights, and launched a campaign against violence against women. 
San Marino’s Mount Titano Summit became part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2008. The Summit is the highest point in the country, reaching 749 meters above sea level. From an administrative point of view, the Republic is composed of 9 municipalities or “Castelli.” The capital, San Marino, is the historic as well as the touristic center of the small European country, attracting over 2 million tourist per year. It’s historical center is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are 3 fortifications and castles: the first tower called “Guaita”, the second one, “Cesta”, and the third tower, named “Montale”. One of the most remarkable monuments of the historic center is the Palace of the Government, located on the “Freedom Square”, where stands the Statue of Liberty.

Picture: Mount Titano
© Permanent Representation of San Marino to the Council of Europe

The San Marino Crossbow Federation was established in 1956 to cultivate the memories and the appeal of a centuries-old tradition – crossbow shooting. Musicians, flag-throwers, walk-ons and archers dressed in ancient costume are the protagonists of fascinating events that recreate the atmospheres of times gone by.
Historical traces of a corps of San Marino crossbowmen date back to the late 14th century. It was their duty to defend the walls and the independence of the community, but they also operated as a police force. Competitions and shooting practice sessions were often organised, and these events attracted large crowds of spectators.

Picture: Medieval Festival
© La Fondazione San Marino
Cassa di Risparmio della Repubblica di San Marino-Sums

«Istanza d’Arengo »

It is an institution that provides a sense of direct democracy in San Marino. The insitution gives citizens the opportunity to ask questions to the Heads of State, every six months. Citizens also have the opportunity to suggest a piece of legislation of public interest to the national parliament .


Crossbow is a highly popular national sport in San Marino. Each year, the nine castelli of the country compete in a national crossbow tournament. 

© Permanent Representation of San Marino to the Council of Europe

Stamps and Coins

Sammarinese stamps and coins are highly sought-after collectors items. The fact that San Marino’s stamps are only valid within the country adds to their popularity among collectors.

Sources of texts:  www.visitsanmarino.com and Permanent Representation of San Marino to the Council of Europe


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