Pope to visit Europe’s oldest republic in 2011

VATICAN CITY — The pope will travel “abroad” next year to the tiny republic of San Marino. I say “abroad” because even though the 24-square-mile republic is located inside Italy, it’s an autonomous European nation. The Italian eastern coastal resort, Rimini, is about 10 miles away.

A Vatican source today confirmed reports  saying Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to spend the day June 19, 2011, in the diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro. Montefeltro, however, is on Italian territory. How often does that happen, that a diocese spans two countries?

At this point, the pope’s only other confirmed trip outside Italy is to Madrid in August for the celebration of World Youth Day 2011.