Monday, August 6, 2012

Where in the world is... San Marino?

San Marino is one of a very few countries that is landlocked inside of another country (in fact, I can only think of one other off the top of my head - Lesotho, which is landlocked inside South Africa). San Marino can be found inside of Italy, and according to Wikipedia, "is the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world..." having been founded on September 3, 301. Wow!


San Marino is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and has a lot of it's economy in finance and tourism. The country has very low unemployment and no national debt. When do I move there? Sounds great so far! ;)

Ironically it was this country's poorness that allowed it to remain independent all these years. Ha! But by the 1600's, the papacy recognized it officially as it's own country apart from Rome. When the Italian states united to form Italy in the 1900's, San Marino stood it's ground to remain independent, as it continues to be to this day.

Ooh! I was right!

I went ahead and looked up landlocked countries in Wikipedia, and sure enough... the only countries completely landlocked inside of another country are Lesotho, San Marino, and Vatican City (which is also within Italy). Fascinating!

The cultural stuff...

San Marino has a Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and cool winters. Their main agricultural crops include wine and cheese. The average per capita income is around US $55,000, which is on par with Denmark and Germany. There are about 33,000 people in San Marino, and the main languages spoken here are Italian and Emiliano-Romagnolo (a Gaelic-Italic language).

Piadina - a flatbread traditionally served with cheese, cold cuts, and vegetables

About 97% of people in San Marino would claim to be Catholic, although it's more of a cultural identity there than a religion for most people. In fact, most public holidays celebrated there are what we would consider to be religious holidays (Epiphany, Easter, All Saints Day, Christmas, etc). Only about half of Sammarinese people are actually practicing Catholics, and there has also been a large Jewish presence there for about 600 years.

And of course... their favorite sport is football (soccer)... which seems to be the case with most countries, it seems. How did our own national sport get to be baseball instead, I wonder? (Maybe I'll have to research that for a future blog post!) But I digress...

Some pretty photos!

Mount Titano

Gaito: one of the Three Towers of San Marino

Three members of the Guard of the Rock (border patrol)

And last but not least... Animals!

It seems that the main animals to be found in San Marino are bats and otters! I suppose there's not room for very many more types of animals when you've got such a small country. Lol. I won't show you the bats, but the otters are pretty cute! ;)

European Otter

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