Seborga is nothing more than a small town on the West coast of Liguria, not far from the border with France. The town is “governed” (actually administered) by a self-proclaimed “prince,” Marcello, who has been fighting, in vain, for years to gain his official independence from Italy.
There is a guard at the entrance to the “Principality” of Seborga, but entrance is obviously allowed to anyone.
Seborga is a small medieval center located between the town of Bordighera and Sanremo and 300 people live here. The village has its own “prince,” a crown council, a few guards and private funding: everything, obviously, not recognized by the Italian State.
Seborga is a medieval town center
Seborga’s main square
In recent times, the population was informed of an attempt to remove the “prince” Marcello I, who has been at the head of the Principality since 2010, when he replaced George I, who died in 2009.
Marcello I was elected by the people through a democratic election.
The “new self-proclaimed prince” who tried to do a coup d’état is a French citizen who introduced himself as Nicolas I and wrote on the official website claiming to be the real prince.
The village has indeed a website which also lists the names of the ministers and secretaries of state. Nicolas I went further by publishing a video with a French-language message addressed to the citizens with which he committed himself to fight for the independence of the Principality and to give prosperity to its inhabitants.
A sort of new Principality of Monaco basically, but on Italian land.
But Marcello I's answer was not negotiable and he published a letter expressing that the prince and the Council of the Crown, learning this news, expressed amazement and disappointment.
The Seborghini (Seborga’s inhabitants) were therefore called to defend the flag.
The unrecognized Principality has in fact its own flag, a national anthem, its body of guards and even some currency: the Luigino, although without legal value, is used as a spendable coin in town and it has a fixed value of six US dollars. The unrecognized Principality’s values and goals are well described on the website of the town (the official one, not the page regarding the coup d’état), and there are also photos and news about the meetings abroad of its Prince and his wife.
The reasons for the alleged independence date back to 954, when the Count Guido di Ventimiglia donated the area to the Benedictine monks. A subsequent sale at the end of the eighteenth century to Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy resulted in the annexation to the Kingdom of Italy was later considered unilateral and illegitimate. To this day, it remains in effect an Italian territory and its inhabitants, reluctantly, need to pay taxes to the Italian government.
According to many people, the supposed independence of the Principality would only be an advertising stunt to attract tourists and investors.
Getting to Seborga is not so different from setting foot in one of the many small medieval Italian villages: lots of stone, pretty little squares, small alleyways and an atmosphere that makes you feel like you are travelling back in time.
Seborga’s stone houses are typical
Seborga has very interesting characteristics, which have allowed it to be awarded with the prestigious orange flag of the Italian Touring Club, a tourist-environmental quality brand conferred by the Club to small towns in the Italian hinterland that stand out for their excellent hospitality. Characterized by delightful stone houses, small streets and small squares, Seborga also prints stamps with the emblem of the town.