life through the lens
From Lugano in Switzerland it was a train ride via Milan and Genoa followed by a midnight taxi from coastal Bordighera along a steep, winding road inland to the Principality of Seborga - April 2014.
Seborga's claims to independence stem from Giorgio Carbone's assertion (head of the local flower-growers cooperative) that the town wasn't mentioned in the Italian 1861 Act of Unification. The principality's website proclaims 'never annexed nor annexable by Italy'. In 1963 Giorgio was elected as the principality's first head of state, Prince Giorgio I. Following his death in 2009, Marcello Menegatto was elected Prince Marcello I in 2010 and, with his wife Nina, continue to assert independence. The 4.87km² principality has an armed force (of one?!), the Corpo della Guardia, and consular representation across the globe.
The Luigino (SPL, only coins issued) is fixed to the dollar with a value of 1SPL = US$6.
On the reverse side are the coat of arms; Prince Giorgio I with Marcello I; Prince Giorgio I; and lastly Prince Marcello I
But in reality everyone uses the Euro, the Luigino being more a tourist souvenir for suckers like me. And of course I lapped them up!
The principality of Seborga, 10km inland from the Italian coastal resort of Bordighera
Also visible is Monaco and a great view of the French city of Nice on the Cote d'Azur - Seborga
The 'border', complete with sentry box and Seborgan flag - Seborga
The Seborgan flag is painted on the road - Seborga
Welcome to the Principality of Seborga!
From the border the steep winding road brings you to the hamlet of Fascia Piana - Seborga
There's also a walking trail up to the old town - Seborga
The path leading to the old town, with the spire of San Martino Church on the right - Seborga
On the left is the former home of the first prince of Seborga, Giorgio Carbone, who died in 2009 - Seborga
At the main entrance to the principality is the 13th century San Bernardo Chapel, dedicated to the co-patron saint of Seborga
San Martino Church and, right, the Monks' Palace in Piazza San Martino - Seborga
The brightly coloured frescoes on San Martino Church - Seborga
Piazza San Martino - Seborga
The Monks' Palace (Palazzo dei Monaci) on Piazza San Martino - Seborga
The Templar Cross in the centre of Piazza San Martino - Seborga.
Templar Knights add to the atmosphere in my room at the welcoming Antico Castello - Seborga
The narrow lanes of the historic centre - Seborga
Steps to Antico Castello B&B - Seborga
This is the outside view of Antico Castello. I don't know if it was in fact an ancient castle, as the name suggests, but it has that look about it - Seborga
The flag of Seborga in the old town
More Seborgan flags draped outside the historic buidlings in Seborga
There's several Templar Knights on show around the principality, this one being outside Marcellino's Restaurant - Seborga
I love these colours on Via Matteotti - Seborga
A Templar Knight stands guard in the old town - Seborga
The Town Hall of the Principality of Seborga
The old town is popular with day trippers from the region - Seborga
The Musical Instrument Museum contains a wealth of antique gramaphones, record players, trumpets etc - Seborga
Seborga's coat of arms on a road sign - Seborga
A decorative entrance to a home in Seborga
There's a couple of grottoes in the old town - Seborga
Madonna di Alvenia grotto - Seborga
On the left is one of the original gateways to the old town - Seborga
Piazza della Liberta is the heart of the old town - Seborga
On the Piazza is the official Seborga souvenir shop where you can buy postcards, tourist passports, flags, posters, the Luigini [but only the new coins not the Prince Giorgio I mint, which are sold by a 'rival'(?!) shop] - Seborga
And who should walk into the shop to chat with me but Princess Nina herself! Not just a princess but the Minister of Foreign Affairs no less.
A colourful painting outside a Piazza shop - Seborga
Piazza della Liberta on Easter Sunday - Seborga
On the right is the Prince's Palace, though the Prince and Princess don't reside here any more (I think they live above Marcellino's Restaurant) - Seborga
The entrance to the old prison - Seborga
The outdoor dining area of Osteria del Coniglio - Seborga
The historic centre is very small and easy to wander around in a couple of hours - Seborga
Another gateway to the old town - Seborga
More images of the Templar Knights in the historic centre - Seborga
Umberto I, King of Italy in the late 19th century - Seborga
Il Principe Pizzeria on Piazza Martiri Patrioti. It's quite impressive that a village of 360 can support four restaurants. The lane on the left leads to the old town - Seborga
Trattoria San Bernardo is also decorated with Templar Knights - Seborga
Enjoying local cocktail Bicycletta (Campari and sparkling wine) as created by Trattoria San Bernardo - Seborga
There's a second sentry box on the edge of Piazza Martiri Patrioti - Seborga
A 1954 monument to the former mayor of Seborga, Bernardo Leone - Seborga
On the left is a monument to Seborgans who died in World Wars I and II. On the right is a dedication to the WWII fallen on the Russian front - Seborga
Il Principe Pizzeria (left) overlooks a valley to the north - Seborga
Straight ahead on the coast is the Italian coastal resort of Bordighera - Seborga
Looking towards Nice and the Cote d'Azur - Seborga
The lights of the Italian town of Vallebona along with Ventimiglia, Menton, Monaco, Nice and the Cote d'Azur - Seborga
It's not just the Templar Knights standing guard - Seborga
One last look at the lanes of the old town - Seborga
The view on the road down to Bordighera, with Nice in the distance. In the foreground is Vallebona - Seborga
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www.bbanticocastello.it - Antico Castello bed & breakfast
http://en.wikipedia.org - Wikipedia entry
www.oraribus.com - buses to Seborga
http://micronations.wikia.com - Guide to micronations
http://terry-uniqueplaces.blogspot.co.uk - unique places
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