The Republic of San Marino, the oldest and smallest republic in the world, is located in north central Italy entirely surrounded by the Province of Emilia ? Romagna. It has an area of 24 sq. mi. (62 sq. km.). Capital: San Marino. ,According to tradition, San Marino was founded about 350 A.D. by a Christian stonecutter as a refuge against religious persecution. While gradually acquiring the institutions of an independent state, it avoided the fractional fights of the middle ages and except for a brief period in fief to Cesare Borgia, retained its freedom despite attacks on its sovereignty by the Papacy, the lords of Rimini, Napoleon and Mussolini. In 1862 San Marino established a customs union with, and put itself under the protection of Italy. A Communists ? Socialist coalition controlled the government for 12 years after World War II. The Christian Democratic Party has been the core of government since 1957.,, ,San Marino does not issue its own paper money although it has issued coins since 1864. The notes issued in 1976 are emergency small denomination issues prompted by a coin storage. Similar pieces were issued in 1944 and 1966.,, Monetary System:,,, ,1 Lira = 100 Centesimi,,