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Country profile: San
Republic of San Marino
The per capita
level of output and standard of living are
comparable to those of Italy, which supplies
much of its food. In addition, San Marino
maintains the lowest unemployment rate in
Europe, a state budget surplus, and no national
Arable land comprises some 17 percent of San
Marino's rugged territory, and agricultural
products include wheat, grapes, corn, olives,
cattle, pigs, horses, beef, cheese, and hides.
Italy supplies much of the republic's food,
while main export products are wine and cheeses,
renowned in Italy and abroad. Woods also cover a
part of the land.
Landlocked San Marino is one of the world's smallest countries. Surrounded by Italy, it is an echo from an era when city-states proliferated across Europe.
Mount Titano, part of the Appennine range, dominates San Marino's landscape.
Three defensive fortresses perch on Titano's slopes, looking out to the Adriatic coast.
San Marino is said to be the world's oldest surviving republic.
Tradition has it that the country was founded in the fourth century AD by a devout Christian stonemason called Marinus, who took refuge there and set up a small community. Its rugged isolation helped the enclave to develop and keep its independence.
Fortresses perch on San Marino's Mount Titano
An 1862 friendship and cooperation treaty with Italy, which has since been revised and expanded, reinforced San Marino's independence.
Tourism dominates the economy of the 61 square kilometre (23.6 square miles) republic, which plays host to more than three million visitors every year.
Postage stamps and coins - keenly sought by collectors - are important sources of revenue.
As one of Europe's tax havens, San Marino has traditionally attracted a large inflow of cash from non-residents, but in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008-9 this status has come increasingly under threat, and the republic has pledged to make its banking system more transparent.
San Marino's constitution provides for a parliamentary style of government. The 60-member Great and General Council is elected every five years. It is headed by two captains-regent, who are elected by the council every six months and act as heads of state for that period.
The 10-member Congress of State is elected by the Great and General Council and exercises executive power.