Republic of San Marino

Terra Perpetuae Libertatis

Life and the pandemic in the autonomous enclave of San Marino

The Republic of San Marino’s first statute dates back to 1295 and decrees the nation’s independent status, which has been proudly maintained and defended until today. The autonomous character of this atypical state entity, today a sovereign enclave within Italian territory, has become more evident during the time of Covid. After an initial phase of total lockdown in line with the restrictions in Italy, the so-called Terra Perpetuae Libertatis changed direction in the autumn by introducing different rules for containing the virus: restaurants, sports centres and cultural venues in the territory reopened, with the hope of improving the State’s financial fortunes and retaking full control of the situation, thanks to the republic’s limited geographical size.

The unpredictability of the pandemic emergency, on one hand, has highlighted San Marino’s legislative sovereignty, but on the other, it has pulled back the curtain on the close relationship that this miniscule republic has with Italy and the huge impact the decisions of the neighbouring government has on its economy and its tourist lifeblood. Italy’s restrictions today forbid inhabitants of the regions that border San Marino to take walks or go for a drink in the republic, and this has had obvious repercussions on the economic fabric of the enclave. In the absence of foreign visitors, the republic has discovered how reliant it is on the mood of a disoriented Italian government, in spite of its own local charismatic autonomous administration that recently authored legislation to oblige anti-vaxxers to personally pay for their own medical treatment.