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San Marino

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SAN MARINO is a tiny landlocked republic in central Italy, lying in the Apennine Mountain’s eastern foothills. It is one of two small, independent enclaves (the Vatican City being the other), surrounded by Italy’s country, which had survived from the time when the region consisted of autonomous city-states. Given Italy’s turbulent history and the fact that the larger, more powerful states tended to swallow up the smaller ones, San Marino’s survival is truly remarkable.

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According to legend, a stonecutter called Marinus, who had embraced Christianity was forced to hide on San Marino’s mountain because he was persecuted for his faith. He founded a Christian community that survived and grew to become the independent state of San Marino, officially recognized as such by the Pope in 1291.

Since 1862, as the rest of Italy moved towards unification, San Marino has maintained treaties of friendship with its all-embracing neighbor. The country’s main topographical feature is the three-peaked, rugged hill of Mount Titano (739 meters or 2,424 feet).

Wooded mountains and pasture land cluster around Mount Titano’s limestone peaks. The country has a mild Mediterranean climate.

Most people work on the land or in forestry. Wheat, barley, maize, olives, and vines are grown, and dairy produces the leading agricultural export. The other main exports are wood machinery, chemicals, wine, textiles, tiles, varnishes, and ceramics.

Many tourists visit the country each year, and much of the country’s revenue comes from the sale of stamps, postcards, souvenirs, and duty-free liquor.

Euro is in general use, but San Marino issues its coins. In 1992, San Marino became a member of the United Nations, and it is a full member of the Council of Europe.

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Mount Titano dominates San Marino’s landscape; most of the irregularly shaped country is situated on its slopes and crest. There is enough level land at the base of the mountain for agriculture, however. San Marino is landlocked, and there are no sizable lakes in the country.

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