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This free country should be on your radar…

San Marino

August 22, 2012
San Marino

They call it “The Most Serene Republic of San Marino”. That’s actually the official name. And with good reason… because it’s easily one of the most ideal places on the planet to be.

Perched atop limestone cliffs overlooking the Adriatic coastline, San Marino is the oldest surviving sovereign state in the world. It was founded in 301 by a Christian stoneworker from Dalmatia (modern-day Croatia) who was fleeing persecution under Diocletian.

The country remains to this day, in many ways, the same bastion of political and economic refuge that it was nearly 2,000 years ago.

Tax rates are comparatively low. Regulation is limited. The government is tiny. San Marino has a long history of budget surpluses and zero debt.

It is no coincidence that this diminutive nation boasts among the highest per-capita GDP, greatest wealth, lowest unemployment, and highest life expectancy in the world.

To boot, San Marino is also gorgeous, safe, clean, friendly, and shockingly inexpensive. The weather is near-perfect with plentiful Mediterranean sunshine, yet you’re an easy drive to the Italian Alps.

It’s also a place where you feel very free. You don’t see legions of jackbooted thugs wandering around town toting automatic weapons at the ready. There are no agents of the government shutting down lemonade stands, fondling travelers, wiretapping phone calls, conducting UAV reconnaissance of citizens, etc.

In San Marino, people peacefully coexist in a beautiful, quintessentially Italian setting. Everyone is expected to act like a grownup and be responsible for themselves without the state intervening.

(On that note, I should also mention that San Marino has some of the freest, most unrestricted gun laws in Europe…)

It’s no accident that the nation is so prosperous; there is a direct link between freedom and economic prosperity. One is fuel for the other, like oxygen to fire. Smother the oxygen, and the fire goes out.

Zimbabwe is a great example of the fire going out; once a clean and prosperous nation, its fortunes turned quickly after a few years of rule under Robert Mugabe’s dictatorial control.

Medieval Venice is another great example; the city-state was the epicenter of European prosperity for hundreds of years due to the economic freedom provided to its citizens. As these freedoms began to wane in the 14th century, so did the economy, until nearly all the
wealth and productive class moved on to Florence.

There’s no secret sauce to achieving prosperity, it’s not rocket science. Nations must produce more than they consume, and in order for that to happen, people need freedom.

Freedom is highly prized in San Marino. Temporarily ruled by fascists during World War II, San Marino declared a national holiday once they were driven from power. They still commemorate the occasion to this day.

No doubt, freedom and opportunity are in decline in many parts of the world. Countries that already have shaky economic fundamentals are hitting the accelerator, spending their way to the bottom as quickly as possible.

San Marino is one of the bright spots out there… and it definitely ought to be on your radar.

Our goal is simple: To help you achieve personal liberty and financial prosperity no matter what happens.

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About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • This Guy

    Any word on Belize? Its Gov’t, Banks, etc..?

  • amerikanka

    As an independent republic surrounded by Italy, it’s also in the Euro Zone.

    • Namai

      Confirmed, their currency is EUR. However, everything else Simon said is true, as well. I wonder how much land goes for there, or if it can be had.

      • Guest

        It should be also be noted that they have few, if any of the problems associated with the Euro Zone. I have property across the Adriatic in Croatia, and I’m wondering if they’ll try to join the currency when they join the EU next year.

      • Strider73

        I have property across the Adriatic in Croatia, and I’m wondering if they’ll try to join the currency when they join the EU next year.

        That would be the equivalent of boarding the Titanic after it hit the iceberg.

        San Marino is certainly a wonderful place by all accounts. However, I cannot envision a scenario wherein the inevitable chaos in Italy would not spill across its borders and consume it. Even Switzerland — which is not part of the EU — will almost certainly catch some of the fallout.

      • amerikanka

        It should be noted that San Marino has few, if any of the problems associated with the Euro Zone – or even Italy

      • kurac69

        jebise kravo, hehehe,,,

    • joedubai

      San Marino is not an EU member, they just use the Euro, because prior they used the San Marino Lire interchangeably with the Italian Lire. San Marino citizens carry San Marino passports, so they have different travel privileges and visa requirements around the world than say, an Italian.

  • Frank Dobner

    I am interested to know what are citizenship requirements in San Marino. I don’t remember seeing it in your article, although I did not read it twice.

    Thanks as always,


    • Wayne

      On their tourism site, it seemed that citizenship requires unbroken residency for 30 years. Mere residency requires permission, a reasonably and recently clean criminal background–common sense stuff–and didn’t appear difficult to get.

    • john cummins

      that’s what we ALL want to know

    • Mary

      I have been there, lovely place. The author forgt to mention you can see the Adriatic from San Marino. You must be born there to be s citizen, at least that was the case when we visited. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t mean you couldn’t live there without citizenship.

  • Wayne

    You mention, “San Marino has some of the freest, most unrestricted gun laws in Europe.” I’ve been unable to find any source material on SM’s legal code, particularly its gun laws. Can you share your sources for this information? Thanks.

  • skptk

    Plus they have really cool stamps.

    • Stan

      Yes they do. I remember collecting them when I was a youngster.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/George-Robert-Whitfield/500060303 George Robert Whitfield

    According to the Wikipedia article, San Marino is not a member of the European Union.

    • TheLight

      Why should they be? Then they would have to comply with EU regulations which is something they definitely DON’T want or need.

  • Stephen Patrick

    sssshhhhh. Should’ve kept that quiet. Won’t be long now and USA will find a reason to send its troops there.

    • Stan

      No, the greedy speculators will arrive by the boatload and destroy another country.

      • TheLight

        No, because unlike the US, San Marino actually enforces their immigration laws.

  • Tudo

    And if an older person chooses to use marijuana to help with lifes less comfortable moments? Last’s say a couple oz’s? What happens in this land of liberty then pretell?
    Some of you guys really need to go and live FULL TIME in some of these places.
    You’ll be back

    • Mary

      You are wrong on San Marino. It is wonderful. My friends have a veach house near there . It is sublime

    • red

      I’d rather live with people who don’t need drugs for those less comfortable moments in life.

  • JimHH

    I was thinking of SIngapore – very similar, no?

    • wadoo

      I’ve heard good things about Singapore, but it cannot come even close to sustaining itself as far as food production. Not much land left.

  • Bob_Robert

    Glorious! Too bad it doesn’t have a sea port. Looking at it “from above” using Google Earth, I must say it looks like motorcycle heaven! Too bad I don’t speak Italian.

  • jimf1958

    Originaly I thought they were talking about the colonial United States ! We have lost so much becouse we trusted our leaders to Uphold and Defend the constitution. But over the years they have eroded it and passed thousands of constitutionaly questionable laws. If the founders were to walk the streets of any major city today they would be arested for carying a consealed weapon without a permit, And breaking a host of other laws in the process, they would fight the police that tried to arest them,smoke in public buildings, ect. ect.

  • danterola

    @Thisguy- I looked into Belize. I found that the current leader has very close ties to the Bush family. (I believe he was George W’s roomate in college) That was enough for me to change my mind about that country. Right now we are looking at Singapore, Nicaragua or Bali. Also Malta, and now San Marino is now looking ineresting.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/RWM4PERAW4W2JRIUM24EZHAJJM bigneil

    Well, count on us going to war with them soon.

    • Dennis-ward

      The smart thing to do would be to surrender, and immediately apply for foreign aide to rebuild the war ravaged country.

  • keimh3regpeh2umeg

    I love this country! We need about a thousand of these all around the world. Let those who feel more secure under jackbooted-thuggery keep their ole Westphalian nationstate!

  • Dennis-ward

    There are other independent principalities in europe that you might want to look at too.

    • wadoo

      Such as……?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1315946631 David S Brandt

    I wonder what their immigration policies are like.They should expect more than a few people fleeing less free and prosperous slave states….and want to control their borders.

  • slickzip

    That is what AMERICA use to be before the liberal socialist/communist started building the welfare state and making people become suckers on the government tit !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • futurelife

      progress has caused most of our problems, instead of progress being good, it caused greed lazy good for nothing people who looks down on the working class that helped them pave the way to a better life…. Henry Ford was a good man but as progress went forward, look now, government control with their hands in our pockets.

      • DrPhil

        Progress did not cause our problems. It caused our poor to be wealthier than poor people of any other country. The problem is government intrusion by regulation, subsidies, and taxation.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Wilson-Kingsley/100000397000382 Ann Wilson Kingsley

        You mean Progressives (Socialists) caused the problem. Socialism wipes out the Middle Class – 50 trillion dollars lost by the Middle Class just since 1980.

      • futurelife

        We were given a brain to use, and we will always have people who will search to make things better and easier. The problem is, once this is achieved, man seems to use that knowledge to do bad. Socialist isn’t good, communist isn’t good, we want freedom and liberty but we are getting too many who are lazy and not being taught right from wrong or good from evil. It seems that once prayer was taken out of our school, people tend to stop going to church, stop teaching prayer and good from evil, when we allowed a book to teach our daughters how to raise their own children and to allow the government to get bigger and into our lives, then all the knowledge from progress to improve life made it worse.

      • James George

        Progress is not our problem at all, it is our failed Corrupt Philosophy that Man is a sinner that is our problem, we brain wash our children with this crap and expect zero consequences for this incredibly stupid and ridicules action.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elmo.lovett Elmo Lovett

    Did anyone read the part where it was after they had drive the fascist out and they have some of the freest most unrestricted gun laws in europe.
    Don’t that sound like America was once, now we cower to this fascist regime of obama and his hoods.
    Wake up America.

  • Dr Jill

    This is what the authors of the Constitution envisioned when they signed it. Small government, people acting like responsible adults, freedom to think and create and prosper.

  • Magnum

    There’s an old adage that says “the government that governs least, governs best”. The United States passed that point when too many people were conditioned to believe that success was only achieved by those who were selfish, dishonest, lucky, or taking advantage of the “less fortunate”, and therefore should be required to forfeit a good portion of their “success” to those with less. In order to accomplish this, the government enacted myriad laws, statutes, regulations that gave it control over the producers, and effectively stifled and restricted their initiative and capabilities. At the same time, those receiving this government confiscated largess, found no reason to try and achieve on their own.

  • Ken

    Sounds wonderful. But all it needs is for Italy to try and help solve its budget problems by invading and conquering San Moreno confiscating its wealth. It’d take about a half-hour to overrun its entire population of 32,000 people.

    • actor44

      Too much publicity and,this could bring the end of San Marino. Free people;no one to meddle in their lives,and corrupt their economy,and rob them blind by making them slaves to debt ,this is not to be tolerated ,by any benevolent thug State .

  • http://www.facebook.com/bastiats.corner Bastiats Corner

    I had never heard of San Marino and obviously had no knowledge of its history. Thanks for sharing.

  • James

    I was walking around a museum there and accidentally went down the corridor into one of the secretary of states’ offices which was pretty much unguarded and said hello and looked round. All they did was tell me the room’s not for tourists and someone supervised the rest of my visit to the museum that I was allowed to stay in (but weren’t threatening like they would be in any other country). Interesting to note that one of the local beer and wine brands has pictures of Hitler, Mussolini etc on the bottles but when I questioned the locals they said they didn’t like it but couldn’t see any reason to ban it either, which I couldn’t help but agree with

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