Presuming Steven Speilberg minds his own effing business and lets the whole human rights thing go already, this summer is the Olympics! I enjoy having something to watch in the summer, and maybe seeing all the talented, ripped bodies will motivate me to work out or something. Anyway, there are a LOT of countries partaking in the Olympics, and I know very little about most of them. I’ve decided to learn about them, and present to you, our reader(s) what I find out.
First up is San Marino. I’ve always wondered what’s up with this tiny little country in the middle of Italy, so I figured it was a great place to start.
History: A stonemason named Marinus left the Adriatic island of Rabwith his bff Leo to find work in Rimini. His hobby was giving Christian sermons, which was not popular in the Roman Empire at the time, so after some persecution, he fled to Monte Titano. This was the year 301, so obvi the first thing to do was build a church, and then some people joined him and BAM! The Most Serene Republic of San Marino was formed. Nobody was too interested in a small, poor country in the mountains, so it was able to maintain its independence for centuries. Even Napolean III refused to take it.
During the early phase of Italian unification in the 19 century, San Marino was a haven for persecuted unification supporters. Later on when the whole thing was completed, Garibaldi let San Marino keep its independence because of this previous aid. When Italy entered into WWI, San Marino waited a few weeks then did the same. They declared their neutrality in WWII, because they were effing smart to stay out of that mess. San Marino is part of the Council of Europe and the U.N., but not the E.U.
Politics: San Marino boasts the oldest written constitution still in effect- 1601! There is a multi-party parliamentary representative democratic republic, and it seems to work here. The executive branch: 2 Captain Regents (who are chosen every 6 months from opposing parties); Congress of State (like a cabinet, elected by the Great and General Council); and the Secretary for Foreign and Political Affairs, who is the head of government. The legislative branch is unicameral; The Great and General Council of 60 members. The judicial branch is the Council of 12, which sounds like a good crime thriller. The two main parties are the Democratic Christian Party of San Marino and the Party of Socialists and Democrats (probs smart to lump the two together; they are practically the same).
Economy: Even though San Marino is not in the E.U., they use the euro, and even get their own design on it. They also share postal responsibilities. Natch, stamps and coins from San Marino are incredibly valuable to collectors. Oh, and San Marino maintains the lowest unemployment rate in Europe and no national debt. Word.
Culture: There’s no public transport to worry about, and all of the non-ceremonial military stuff is done by Italy, and there’s only one university, so people in San Marino get to do a lot of stress-free, fun things all the time. They play a lot of football/soccer but they are shit at it. They are good at motorcycle racing and baseball though, two things my dad would appreciate. Lastly, the people of San Marino are famous for eating the Torta Tre Monti, named after the three towers on Monte Titano, a layered wafer cake covered in chocolate.