Italy contains two small, independent countries within its borders: The Vatican and San Marino. Ok, maybe "countries" is the wrong word. The Vatican is really an independent city-state whereas the hilltown of San Marino is an independent republic. They each have their own post offices and San Marino can even stamp your passport, although it's not needed to cross over their border from Italy. The two even have their own little armies, if you can call them that. The nutcracker looking uniforms the San Marino guard wear won't scare anyone and... well, those candy-striped Vatican guards make little children giggle.
This is one of the reasons why Italy functions in such a confusing manner. It is still not really one, single cohesive country, at least not like we're accustomed to. Italians are very region-proud. The North looks down its nose at the South. Tuscany thinks it's the "real" Italy because of its Etruscan roots. Lazio gets all the "grease" because it has Roma. Most of Italy thinks people from Calabria are backward and stupid. People think Basilicata is full of bandits. And Sicily can't seem to heal the scar of the Mafia. Of course, these stereotypes are losing any validity as all of Italy comes into the modern world, but Italians are still wary of one another.
It's like that old joke I heard long ago: "Mom, I brought a girl home to meet you. But she's Jewish", says the son. "Non-ja worry. I treat-a her like-a my own daughter". Next girl friend... "Mom, she's black". "Non problema. I treat-a her like-a my own daughter". Then, he brings home the girl he's planning to marry. "Mom, I'm gonna marry this girl... and she's ITALIAN!" With one eyebrow turned down, and the other eye full of malocchio, Momma demands to know, "What part-of Italy she come-a from??!"