Friday, July 2, 2010

The National Anthem of San Marino

The Most Serene Republic of San Marino is a country situated in the Apennine Mountains. It is a landlocked enclave, completely surrounded by Italy. Its size is just over 61 km2 (24 sq mi) with an estimated population of almost 30,000. Its capital is the City of San Marino. One of the European microstates along with Liechtenstein, the Vatican, Monaco, Andorra, and Malta, San Marino has the smallest population of all the members of the Council of Europe.

San Marino claims to be the oldest recorded sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world, as the continuation of the monastic community founded on 3 September 301 by stonecutter Marinus of Rab. Legend has it that Marinus left Rab, then the Roman colony of Arba, in 257 when the future emperor, Diocletian, issued a decree calling for the reconstruction of the city walls of Rimini, which had been destroyed by Liburnian pirates.

The constitution of San Marino, enacted in 1600, is the world's oldest constitution still in effect. The city's economy mainly relies on tourism, and San Marino's culture remains Italian, mainly Emilia-Romagnan in essence. The nation's small population also ensures that it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP (per capita), with a figure comparable to that of some of the more developed Italian regions, such as Lombardy and the Province of Bolzano-Bozen. San Marino is considered to have a highly stable economic status, with the lowest unemployment rate in Europe, no national debt and a budget surplus.

The melody of the San Marino's anthem, "Inno Nazionale de la Repubblica", is based on a 10th century chorale. The music was created by San Marinese violinist and composer Federico Consolo and adopted in 1894. Before 1894, a national anthem reminiscent of the Italian anthem was in used. It was composed by Aur. Muccioli and written by U. Balsimelli. The present anthem has no official lyrics, but there are unofficial lyrics written by Giosuè Carducci, a poet and teacher who became the first Italian to win a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1906. Although the anthem is little known and scarcely heard within the wider European Community, the Inno Nazionale is regularly played in the streets of San Marino City by the musicians of the Military Ensemble during national and religious festivals.

Above is an early postcard featuring the score of the San Marino National Anthem. The printing date and cancel is unclear. Below, is a stamp from Italy featuring Giosue Carducci, the unofficial anthem lyricist.