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9 tiny countries with big appeal

Nov. 21, 2013, 9 a.m.
Rocca della Guaita, Castle in San Marino

Photo: Mikhail Bakunovich/Shutterstock

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San Marino

San Marino, which is surrounded by Italy, has been an independent republic since 1599. It has a population of just over 30,000 and a total area of less than 24 square miles. Mountainous landscapes, well-preserved medieval and Renaissance-era castles, and a mix of interesting history and charming fact-based legend make San Marino one of the most memorable places to visit in Southern Europe. The historic center of the capital, which also bears the name San Marino, is a popular stop for Italy-based tourists. In fact, the tiny nation saw more than 2 million visitors last year.