In times gone by, the Republic of San Marino was split into ten “Gualdarie”. This had practical purposes - the protection of the natural environment, of rural properties, and the maintaining of law and order.
In 1463, San Marino was extended by annexing various townships, called Communes or Castles, including Serravalle, Montegiardino and Faetano, all of which were granted administrative independence. Each of the three Townships was run by a Captain appointed by the Regency.
Today, thanks to a law passed in 1925, the country is split into nine areas. Each area takes its name from its largest town or Township: Città, Borgo, Serravalle, Acquaviva, Chiesanuova, Domagnano, Faetano, Fiorentino, Montegiardino.
Each Township has a Town Council, with strictly local duties tied to the control and management of services, the promotion and coordination of cultural, recreational or social activities, the maintenance, planning and realisation of public works, parks, etc.
The Councils are chaired by a Township Captain and consist of a varying number of councillors, depending on the size of the Township (9 for the Townships with over 2000 inhabitants, 7 for the smaller Townships). These are normally elected every five years by direct vote of the electors resident in the single Townships, or whenever the councils are dissolved or expire.