SAN MARINO, a republic in northern Italy, 14 m. S.W. of Rimini by road. Pop. (1901) about 1600 (town); 9500 (whole territory). It is the smallest republic in the world (32 sq. m. in area). According to tradition, the republic was founded by St Marinus during the persecutions under Diocletian, while his companion, St Leo, founded the village of that name 7 m. to the S.W., with La Rocca its old castle, now a prison, in which the impostor Cagliostro died in 1795. The history of S. Marino begins with the 9th century, the monastery of S. Marino having existed demonstrably since 885. In the 10th century a communal constitution was established. The republic as a rule avoided the faction fights of the middle ages, but joined the Ghibellines and was interdicted by the pope in 1247–1249. After this it was protected by the Montefeltro family, later dukes of Urbino, and the papacy, and successfully resisted the attempts of Sigismondo Malatesta against its liberty. In 1503 it fell into the hands of Caesar Borgia, but soon regained its freedom. Other attacks failed, but civil discords in the meantime increased. Its independence was recognized in 1631 by the papacy. In 1739 Cardinal Alberoni attempted to deprive it of its independence, but this was restored in 1740 and was respected by Napoleon. Garibaldi entered it in 1849, on his retreat from Rome, and there disbanded his army. The town stands on the north end of a precipitous rock (2437 ft.) which bears the name of Monte Titano; each of the three summits is crowned by fortifications—that on the north by a castle, the other two by towers. The arms of the republic are three peaks, each crowned with a tower. There are traces of three different enceintes, of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. The chief square, the Pianello, contains the new Palazzo del Governo in the Gothic style (1894) and a statue of Liberty (1876). The principal church (Pieve), in classical style, dates from 1826–1838, and contains the body of St Marinus. The old church, then demolished, is first mentioned in 1113, but was several times restored. S. Francesco has some paintings by Niccolo Alunno of Foligno and other later artists, and a pretty loggia. The museum contains a few pictures of various schools and some Umbrian antiquities. Bartolommeo Borghesi, the epigraphist and numismatist, resided here from 1821 until his death in 1860. The Borgo at the base of the rock is a chiefly commercial village.
The supreme power of the republic resides in the general assembly (Arringo) which meets twice a year. It is governed by two Capitani Reggenti, selected twice a year from the 60 life-members of the Great Council, which is composed of 20 representatives of the nobility, 20 of the landowners and 20 of the citizens. They are assisted by a small committee of 12 of the Great Council. The available armed forces of the republic form a total of about 1200 men, all citizens able to bear arms being technically obliged to do so from the age of 16 to 60 years. San Marino issues its own postage-stamps, and makes thereby a considerable income. It also issues its own copper coinage, which circulates in Italy also; but Italian money is current for the higher values. Most of the republic falls within the diocese of Montefeltro, a small portion within that of Rimini.
See C. Ricci, La Repubblica di San Marino (Bergamo, 1903).
- Not a few Italians possess titles of nobility of San Marino.