Located in West Liguria, very close to the French border, Seborga is a very particular place in the whole region. The town is famous for claiming its independence from the whole of Italy as the sovereign Principality of Seborga !!! And actually, even national authorities don’t say that it is not rightful !!! I would say it is the most curious place in the whole Liguria! So let’s know it better 😉
How to reach Seborga?
– by car – first motorowy A10 and you have to use Bordighera motorway exit – then follow the indications to Seborga by taking the road SP 57 and you arrive at the hamlet in about 30 minutes. More info here.
– by bus – from Bordighera you can take 10 bus line that brings you in about 30 minutes to the Seborga’s centre.
The very first documents about Seborga are dated on 954, when the hamlet was donated to monks, by a Guido count of Ventimiglia. In 1181 the Republic of Genoa, which had extended its domains to Nice, declared that it assumed the protection of Seborga. That situation remained unchanged until the XVIII century. During the Napoleons domination, Seborga became part of the canton of the French department of the Maritime Alps and then in 1815 became a part of the Kingdom of Sardinia first and of the Italian Republic then.
In arguing for the founding of Seborga in 1963, a Seborgan named Giorgio Carbone claimed, based on documents from the Vatican archives, that during the Middle Ages the town had become a part of the feudal holdings of the Counts of Ventimiglia. He insisted that in the year 954, Seborga became the property of the Benedictine Monks of Santo Onorato di Lerino. Then in the XI century, the Abbot of this monastery became a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, with authority over the Principality of Seborga. Allegedly in 1729, this independent principality was sold to the Savoy dynasty and became their protectorate. In 1815 the Congress of Vienna overlooked Seborga in its redistribution of European territories. There is no mention of Seborga also in the Act of Unification for the Kingdom of Italy. The Unification of Italy in 1861 and the founding of the Italian Republic in 1946 would, therefore, be illegitimate and unilateral acts because they violate the legitimate sovereignty of Seborga. The exile of the Savoy, in 1946, involved also the end of ius patronatus.
So Seborga’s present day status as an independent state is based on the claim that the 1729 sale was never registered by its new owners, resulting in the principality falling into what has been described as a legal twilight zone.
In 1960, Giorgio Carbone began promoting the idea that Seborga should restore its historic independence as a principality and in the early 60’s the inhabitants of Seborga elected Carbone as their Head of State. Then he assumed the title of His Serene Highness Giorgio I, Prince of Seborga, which he held until his death in 2009. Carbone’s status as the Prince was confirmed in 1995 when Seborgans voted for the Principality’s constitution and in favour of independence from Italy. The successor of Carbone, Marcello Menegatto was elected in 2010 as His Serene Highness Marcello I.
Things to see & do
When you arrive at the hamlet, you’ll find the main street of Seborga, via Piazza Martiri Patrioti. The town is small, so you can’t lose 😉 Going through the streets you’ll reach the most important monuments of the hamlet :
Chiesa di San Martino
Located in the heart of the historic centre of the hamlet. The church was built in the XVII century. Its façade is decorated in baroque style like the same as its interiors. The interiors of modest dimensions present the high altar dedicated to St. Martin of Tours. At the altar, in a niche, there is a wooden statue depicting the Madonna and Child dated on between the XV and XVI centuries.
Next to the church you will see another important building:
Palazzo dei monaci
According to historical documents, the building was purchased in the XVII century by the monks that made it their home and headquarters. At the end of the XVII century, the palace became a mint of the local coin (called luigino which still exists and is still used by inhabitants of Seborga). In the XVIII century, monks sold the feudal territory and the palace to the Savoys and later it became the institutional seat of the Municipality and of the nursery and primary school. With the transfer of the town hall and schools to actual buildings, it became a private house.
Where to sleep in Seborga?
SB Bed & Breakfast A fantastic B&B with a sea view! Tranquillity and relax. If you want to find a silent place and to have a calm time, that’s the place for you. Another, huge advantage of this place is its breakfast – abundant and delicious! More info here.
Agriturismo Monaci Templari This is really a piece of paradise. Agroturismo makes its own products which you can taste during breakfast and dinner (they have their own restaurant – which is very nice!). The rooms are clean and the prices are very reasonable. More info here.
Cà de MartiThere are flats in the historical centre of Seborga. The rooms are furnished in a little bit old-styled but they are very clean and comfortable. The views from the rooms, especially in the close mountains are superb! More info here.
Perfect for relaxing, with a curious history. Not overpopulated by tourist, calm and authentic. If you are looking for some new and relaxing places, Seborga is a place for you. Enjoy 🙂
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