Ahh, Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino (the Most Serene Republic of San Marino, as it’s officially known) - the landlocked microstate with a population so small they could have all comfortably sat together inside Moscow’s Olympic Stadium, has become something of a fan favourite.
San Marino took their first step towards Eurovision glory by becoming a member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) back in 1995 thanks to broadcaster Radiotelevisione della Repubblica di San Marino (SMRTV). It would take a further 13 years before the world’s oldest constitutional republic would participate in the democratic process of Eurovision.
Belgrade 2008 would stage San Marino’s debut entry: alt-rock group Miodio, composed of Sammarinese and Italian band members. Their song, Complice, may have finished last in its Semi-Final but not before picking up two points from fellow aspirational minnows Andorra.
After their first outing, the nation’s Eurovision ambitions were put on hiatus, with SMRTV citing financial difficulties. San Marino wouldn’t return until 2011 when pop diva Senhit would make the first of three attempts to reach the Grand Final, with her initial offering: Stand By. The track failed to qualify from the Semi-Finals but the singer would go on to achieve the country’s second best ever result with Adrenalina in 2021, with a little help from featured artist Flo Rida.
Watch: Adrenalina – Senhit (Eurovision Song Contest 2021) 🇸🇲
It would also take Valentina Monetta three attempts between 2012 and 2014 to secure the Most Serene Republic’s first trip to the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final with the Ralph Siegel produced track Maybe.
Valentina’s fourth Eurovision entry in 2017 (Spirit of the Night, a disco duet with Jimmie Wilson) may not have taken San Marino to their second Grand Final, but it did secure Monetta’s place in the record books: alongside Elisabeth Andreassen and Sue Schell of Peter, Sue and Marc, she’s currently the women with the most participations in the Eurovision Song Contest, and rumours of a fifth attempt are never far away.
Completing the trio of qualifiers and the mastermind behind the tiny nation’s best ever result is Turkish singer Serhat, who propelled San Marino to the giddy heights of 19th on the leaderboard in Tel Aviv 2019 with the song Say Na Na Na.
Watch: Serhat – Say Na Na Na (Eurovision Song Contest 2019) 🇸🇲
As with Senhit and Valentina, Serhat didn’t qualify for the Grand Final on his first attempt; I Didn’t Know would stall in the Semi-Finals at Stockholm 2016. So if there’s one thing we’ve learned about plucky little San Marino, it’s that persistence pays off.
Fellow Sammarinese non-qualifiers Miodio, Michele Perniola, Anita Simoncini, Jimmie Wilson, Jessika and Jenifer Brening – your time may yet come.