Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - San Marino

Publisher Minority Rights Group International
Publication Date 2007
Cite as Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - San Marino, 2007, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
Comments In October 2015, MRG revised its World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples. For the most part, overview texts were not themselves updated, but the previous 'Current state of minorities and indigenous peoples' rubric was replaced throughout with links to the relevant minority-specific reports, and a 'Resources' section was added. Refworld entries have been updated accordingly.
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


The Republic of San Marino is in the Apennine mountains close to the Italian Adriatic riviera town of Rimini. It is surrounded on all sides by Italy.


The official date of the founding of the Republic of San Marino is 3 September 301, making it the oldest remaining European republic. The country is named after a Christian stonemason, Marinus the Dalmation, fled the anti-Christian Roman Emperor Diocletian to establish a community of Christians on Mount Titano. The decentralised administrative system, conducted through the nine castle committees, dates from 1463. The common law legal system was set out in Statutes adopted in 1600.

During the nineteenth-century movement for Italian unification, San Marino offered asylum to revolutionaries, among them Garibaldi. Its independence has remained unthreatened ever since, save for when Italian troops massed on the border in 1957 to bring down the republic's communist government.

This so-called 'bloodless revolution' led to rule by a centre-left coalition which continued until the 1990s, when a new Social Democrat-Christian Democrat coalition was formed.


Main languages: Italian, Sanmarinesi

Main religion: Roman Catholicism

San Marino had a total population of 27,336 in 2001, a significant number of whom were non-San Marino citizens, mainly Italians.

Sanmarinesi is a widely spoken version of the Italian Emiliano-Romagnolo dialect. There are several dialects of Sanmarinesi, corresponding to the territories of the nine historical castles which represent, through the castle committees, the decentralised administration of San Marino. There is no official protection of the Sanmarinesi language. Most of the population also speak Italian, which is the official language.

Nearly one-quarter of the workforce is non-resident, commuting each day from Italy.


There is no constitution. Basic civil rights were enacted in 1974 and the law was revised in 2002. It guarantees freedom of the person, domicile, dwelling and emigration, assembly and association, expression of thoughts, conscience and cult. The law guarantees free education to citizens.

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status.

Although the government does not require official recognition or registration for religious groups, it requires legal status for tax or other commercial purposes. There is a concordat with the Holy See for relations with the Roman Catholic Church. Other religions, such as the Baha'is and Jehovah's Witnesses are included in a registry of cultural associations.

A 2004 reform no longer requires that the country's lower court judges be non-citizens. However, most lower court judges are Italians.

A law bans foreign workers from indefinite employment status. They must renew work permits every year. Non-Italian foreign workers must obtain an Italian residence permit before they can apply for employment.

In the 1980s and 1990s the government ratified several UN and European covenants and conventions, including the Framework Convention on National Minorities.


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