Geography of San Marino

Learn Information about the Small European Nation of San Marino

San Marino country map
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San Marino is a small country located on the Italian Peninsula. It is completely surrounded by Italy and has an area of just 23 square miles (61 sq km) and a population of 33,779 people as of 2018. Its capital is the City of San Marino but its largest city is Dogana. San Marino is known as being the oldest independent constitutional republic in the world.

Fast Facts: San Marino

  • Official Name: Republic of San Marino
  • Capital: San Marino
  • Population: 33,779 (2018)
  • Official Language: Italian
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • Form of Government: Parliamentary republic
  • Climate: Mediterranean; mild to cool winters; warm, sunny summers
  • Total Area: 24 square miles (61 square kilometers)
  • Highest Point: Monte Titano at 2,425 feet (739 meters) 
  • Lowest Point: Torrente Ausa at 180 feet (55 meters)

History of San Marino

It is believed that San Marino was founded in 301 CE by Marinus the Dalmatian, a Christian stonesman, when he fled the island of Arbe and hid on Monte Titano. Marinus fled Arbe to escape the anti-Christian Roman Emperor Diocletian. Shortly after he arrived at Monte Titano he founded a small Christian community that was later became a republic called the Land of San Marino in honor of Marinus.

Initially, the government of San Marino consisted of an assembly made up of the heads of each family residing in the area. This assembly was known as the Arengo. This lasted until 1243 when the Captains Regent became joint heads of state. In addition, the original area of San Marino only included that of Monte Titano. In 1463, however, San Marino joined an association that was against Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, Lord of Rimini. The association later defeated Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta and Pope Pius II Piccolomini gave San Marino the towns of Fiorentino, Montegiardino, and Serravalle. In addition, Faetano also joined the republic in the same year and its area expanded to a total of its current 23 square miles (61 sq km).

San Marino has been invaded twice throughout its history—once in 1503 by Cesare Borgia and once in 1739 by Cardinal Alberoni. Borgia's occupation of San Marino ended with his death several months after its occupation. Alberoni's ended after the Pope restored the republic's independence, which it has maintained ever since.

Government of San Marino

Today, the Republic of San Marino is considered a republic with an executive branch consisting of co-chiefs of state and a head of government. It also has a unicameral Grand and General Council for its legislative branch and a Council of Twelve for its judicial branch. San Marino is divided into nine municipalities for local administration and it joined the United Nations in 1992.

Economics and Land Use in San Marino

San Marino's economy is mainly focused on tourism and the banking industry, but it relies on imports from Italy for most of its citizen's food supplies. The other main industries of San Marino are textiles, electronics, ceramics, cement and wine. In addition, agriculture takes place on a limited level and the main products of that industry are wheat, grapes, corn, olives, cattle, pigs, horses, beef, and hides.

Geography and Climate of San Marino

San Marino is located in southern Europe on the Italian Peninsula. Its area consists of a landlocked enclave that is entirely surrounded by Italy. San Marino's topography mainly consists of rugged mountains and its highest elevation is Monte Titano at 2,477 feet (755 m). The lowest point in San Marino is Torrente Ausa at 180 feet (55 m).

The climate of San Marino is Mediterranean and as such it has mild or cool winters and warm to hot summers. Most of San Marino's precipitation also falls during its winter months.


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Briney, Amanda. "Geography of San Marino." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Briney, Amanda. (2021, February 16). Geography of San Marino. Retrieved from Briney, Amanda. "Geography of San Marino." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 8, 2023).