28 July 2018

San Marino’s liberation from Fascism

The day the people demonstrated against their government

The leader of San Marino's Fascists was the wealthy Giuliano Gozi
The leader of San Marino's Fascists was
the wealthy Giuliano Gozi
San Marino residents celebrate the anniversary of their liberation from Fascism on this day every year.

The Sammarinese Fascist Party had been founded in 1922 by Giuliano Gozi, a veteran of the First World War who came from a rich and powerful family.

The party was modelled on the Fascist party of Italy and used violence and intimidation against its opponents.

Gozi took the roles of both foreign minister and interior minister, which gave him control over the military and the police. He continued to serve as foreign minister, leading the cabinet, until 1943.

In 1923 Gozi was elected as San Marino’s Captain Regent. The Fascists retained this post for 20 years as they banned all other political parties, although some independent politicians continued to serve in the Grand and General Council of the Republic.

But in the early 1940s a group of Socialists started up a clandestine anti-fascist movement and the opposition to the Fascist regime grew stronger in the republic.

On July 28, 1943 the Socialists held a successful political demonstration against Fascism and as a result new elections were called.

The symbol of the Sammarinese Fascist Party
The symbol of the Sammarinese
Fascist Party
When Mussolini was freed by the Germans and Fascism was restored in Italy, the new Government of San Marino managed to negotiate a peace treaty allowing it to remain neutral between the two opposing forces.

During the war San Marino became a safe shelter for more than 100,000 refugees and many Jews were saved from being sent to concentration camps.

At the end of the Second World War, British and American troops supervised the slow return of these refugees to their homes.

A public holiday and festival is held in San Marino on July 28 every year in celebration of the day the Republic finally got rid of the Fascists.

San Marino's Fortress of Guaita is one of the republic's most photographed spectacles
San Marino's Fortress of Guaita is one of the republic's
most photographed spectacles
Travel tip:

San Marino, which is on the border between Emilia-Romagna and Marche, still exists as an independent state within Italy, situated on the north east side of the Apennine mountains. The republic’s romantic battlements and towers can be seen from miles away against the skyline. San Marino claims to be the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world. It covers an area of just 61 square kilometres, or 24 square miles.

The Palazzo Pubblico
The Palazzo Pubblico
Travel tip:

San Marino’s official government building, the Palazzo Pubblico, is similar in design to the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence but is on a much smaller scale. It is in the heart of the Città di San Marino in Contrada del Pianello. Designed by the architect Francesco Azzurri it was built between 1884 and 1894.

More reading:

How the Allies bombed San Marino by accident

The founding of San Marino

The anarchist who tried to kill Mussolini

Also on this day:

1883: The birth of Fascist leader Benito Mussolini

1924: The birth of racing driver Luigi Musso


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