L'Arengo was the first form of government of the Republic of San Marino. Born in the Early Middle Ages, around the year 1000, it responded to the need to create a political body capable of governing and directing the community that had formed.

At the beginning of the history of the San Marino community, a period about which almost nothing is known, it is probable that the most important decisions for the tiny society were taken during an assembly attended by members of all the families, i.e. that political powers were not delegated to anyone and that it operated in a climate of total direct democracy.

The term Arengo originally indicated themeeting of all heads of families who met at the sound of the main bell of the parish church to decide important questions concerning public life.
This assembly held all the powers: legislative, executive and judicial which were previously in the hands of a single figure, the feudal abbot.

Arengo was entitled to it appointment of the highest offices of the State, including the Consuls, later called Captains Regent. And it was they who inherited, from 1244, the executive tasks such as the judicial power.
The Arengo also began drafting of the statutes, one collection of laws that regulated community life.

Before the first one was built public building of the community, met at a set time in the atrium of the Pieve (Basilica of the Saint), at the ringing of the bell, when the Consuls, or Regents, deemed it necessary.

Around the 15th century, with the increase in population, it became increasingly difficult to summon all the heads of the family and above all to make common decisions: for this reason Arengo himself appointed 60 members to which to entrust part of its original functions.

The Great and General Council

Thus was born Great and General Council and we went from a direct participation of the people in political decisions to an indirect one.

At the end of the 18th century, great upheavals affected the organization of power in San Marino: Arengo no longer intervened in electing the representatives of the CouncilIndeed, it was relegated to a purely decorative institution.
The Council, freed from any form of control, dominated in the name of the interests of an increasingly smaller number of patrician families.

From this moment until Alberoni's occupation, the San Marino systems underwent a process of oligarchic involution.

Only on 25 March 1906 Arengo was again summoned to the parish church, the event is remembered with the name of Arengo of 1906.

805 heads of families out of 1054 met and each was given a card with two questions: first it asked whether in San Marino the government should be guided by the Prince and Sovereign Council, second it asked whether a number of councilors should present themselves to be part of the Council proportional between the inhabitants of the countryside and those of the city. This was it first form of referendum.

On May 5, 1906 the first electoral law according to which the renewal of the Council had to take place for a third every 3 years. A major restructuring that made it possible to expand the rebalancing of powers and increase the number of people who could be part of the voting assembly.

The Arengo as an assembly of the heads of families was not reunited again until 25 March 1906, thus taking on a different physiognomy compared to its original one: in practice it became a moment of community life that took place twice a year, in April and October, corresponding to the election of the new Regencies, in which every head of the family could forward petitions and requests to the Great and General Council, as long as they were of public interest, through the new Regents.

The term is currently used Arengo's request to indicate the submission by citizens of requests in the public interest every six months (the first Sunday after 1 October and the first Sunday after 1 April).


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