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Foundation Day in San Marino – September 3, 2023

Foundation Day in San Marino is celebrated on September 3. The foundation of the Republic of San Marino is celebrated annually as a national holiday. It commemorates the day when Saint Marinus, a martyr and a Christian stonemason from the island of Rab in present-day Croatia, who fled to escape Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of the Christians, gathered a band of men upon Monte Titano and founded what became the world’s oldest surviving sovereign state. The small republic situated in the Apennines of Italy, San Marino, has lived under constant threat from its more powerful neighbors, the Roman Empire, France, and the Papal States. The celebration includes the flag-raising ceremony, the solemn oath, and a military parade.

History of Foundation Day in San Marino

The history of San Marino can be traced back to 301 A.D. when Saint Marinus founded a Christian refuge on Mount Titano in present-day San Marino. The Republic of San Marino is a landlocked country in southern Europe, bordered by Italy to the north and surrounded by the San Marino Apennine Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. It covers an area of just 380 square miles and has 32,000 people.

On October 17, 1739, Cardinal Giulio Alberoni, legate of Ravenna, occupied the country. But independence was restored by Pope Clement XII on February 5, 1740, the feast day of Saint Agatha. She became a patron saint of the republic from then on.

In 1915, San Marino declared itself neutral in World War I. This did not sit well with Italy, which had joined the Allied forces and suspected that Austrian spies could use the republic as a base for their operations. Italy tried to force a detachment of Carabinieri into the republic and cut the republic’s telephone lines when it did not comply.

The Republic of San Marino joined the fighting on the Italian front in World War I, providing two groups of 10 volunteers each. One group fought as combatants, and the other operated a Red Cross field hospital. Austria-Hungary later suspended diplomatic relations with San Marino due to the existence of this hospital.

Although San Marino did not formally enter World War II, it was wrongly reported in an article from “New York Times” that it had declared war on the United Kingdom on September 17, 1940. Later, the Sammarinese government told the British that they had not declared war on them.

Foundation Day in San Marino timeline

301 A.D.
The Foundation of San Marino

Saint Marinus, a martyr and a Christian stonemason from the island of Rab in present-day Croatia, gathers a band of men upon Monte Titano and establishes San Marino.

October 17, 1739
Occupied by Ravenna

The country is occupied by Cardinal Giulio Alberoni, legate of Ravenna but its independence is restored by Pope Clement XII.

1915
World War I

San Marino declares itself neutral during World War I — this makes Italy suspect that Austrian spies could use the republic as a base for their operations.

September 17, 1940
World War II

Although San Marino does not take part in World War II, it is wrongly reported in a “New York Times” article that it has declared war on the United Kingdom.

Foundation Day in San Marino FAQs

What language is spoken in San Marino?

Italian, a Romance language of the Indo-European family that evolved from Latin, is spoken in San Marino.

Is it a country or part of Italy?

San Marino is a country, and not part of Italy. It is one of the smallest countries in the world, and Italy surrounds it.

How can I become a citizen of San Marino?

Anyone who has lived in San Marino for at least 30 years, and has a valid residence permit, may apply for naturalization by petitioning through the Grand and General Council.

Foundation Day in San Marino Activities

  1. Attend parades

    In San Marino, September 3 is celebrated with fireworks displays and parades, and concerts. People also wear traditional costumes such as folk dresses or military uniforms while celebrating this occasion.

  2. Visit a museum

    One of the best ways to enjoy this foundation day is to visit one of San Marino’s many museums or art galleries during this time of the year. In addition to being a great way to explore the culture, these institutions also offer special discounts or free admission for visitors during this period.

  3. Gather with family and friends

    Celebrate Foundation Day in San Marino by gathering with family or friends. Enjoy a traditional meal that includes pasta with tomato sauce, meatballs or sausage, and wine or beer.

5 Interesting Facts About San Marino

  1. The oldest republic in the world

    San Marino has existed as a sovereign state for more than 1,100 years. It was founded on September 3, 301, when Saint Marinus founded a Christian refuge on Mount Titano in present-day San Marino.

  2. Occupied many times

    It has been occupied by foreign powers seven times in history, including by Napoleon Bonaparte's French army and, more recently, by German troops during World War II.

  3. Highest point of San Marino

    The highest point in San Marino is Monte Titano at 2,480 feet.

  4. Not a member of the E.U.

    San Marino is an independent state, but the European Union does not officially recognize it.

  5. The oldest governing document

    San Marino's constitution is considered the oldest surviving governing document in the world — it was written in 1600 and still applies today.

Why We Love Foundation Day in San Marino

  1. It expresses gratitude

    This day offers an opportunity for people to express their gratitude to all those who have made this country what it is today. These are San Marino’s people, who have always worked hard for their community, its businesses which contribute to making San Marino stronger every year, its government which represents citizens in international relations, and also its institutions that work tirelessly for the benefit of future generations.

  2. It highlights San Marino's history

    The Foundation Day in San Marino is important because it highlights San Marino's history. It is an opportunity for people to see its historic buildings and monuments and learn more about the country.

  3. It has great parades

    The Foundation Day in San Marino is memorable because it is fun to see the parades. The parades are a great way to show off your country and have fun with your friends and family.

Foundation Day in San Marino dates

YearDateDay
2023September 3Sunday
2024September 3Tuesday
2025September 3Wednesday
2026September 3Thursday
2027September 3Friday

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