San Marino, Italy
This remote fortress watches over the fifth smallest country in the world, San Marino, also named, rather proudly, “The Most Serene Republic of San Marino.” Surrounded by Italy on all sides, this high-GDP microstate of only 30,000 residents is indeed an enclave of calm. History claims that San Marino, nestled in the green northeastern foothills of the Apennine Mountains, was founded in 301 A.D. by a Christian stonemason fleeing religious persecution -- this would make San Marino the world’s oldest surviving republic. One would imagine that its stance of neutrality -- in the Napoleonic Wars, the World Wars, and almost every other war since its founding -- has also had much to do with its longevity and serenity.
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