February 5 – Liberation Day in San Marino

Posted on February 5, 2015

San Marino is pretty special:

  • It's the smallest republic in the world.

  • It's the oldest existing nation in Europe.

  • It's one of the few nations that is entirely surrounded by another nation (in San Marino's case, Italy).

The Republic of San Marino was occupied by armies only a few times—and each time only for a short while. One of those times, the country had been invaded by forces under the rule of Cardinal Giulio Alberoni. He created a new constitution and demanded that the people accept the government of the Papal States (an area of Italy under the direct rule of the Pope, the leader of the Catholic Church).

The people of San Marino protested the occupation. They also secretly sent letters to the Pope protesting Cardinal Alberoni's takeover and reminding the Pope that an earlier Pope had declared San Marino an independent state.

Today is also Saint Agatha's Feast Day, which is very appropriate since she is considered the patron saint of San Marino.

Take a glimpse at San Marino through this video. (If you have never seen Santa Claus repelling down a castle wall, here is your chance.) The sound track is in Italian! 

If you prefer to watch a video in English, here is Rick Steves on San Marino.

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