|Comune di Seborga|
|• Mayor||Enrico Ilariuzzi|
|• Total||4.91 km2 (1.90 sq mi)|
|Elevation||500 m (1,600 ft)|
|Population (31 December 2008)|
|• Density||64/km2 (170/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||San Bernardo|
|Saint day||20 August|
Seborga is a small town in the region of Liguria in northwest Italy, near the French border. Administratively, it is a comune of the Italian province of Imperia. The main economic activities are horticulture and tourism.
In 954, Seborga's territory was ceded by the counts of Ventimiglia to the Benedictine monks of Lérins, when its monastery was founded. In 1079 its abbots were also made Princes of the Holy Roman Empire, temporally in chief of the principality of Seborga.
On 20 January 1729, however, it was annexed to the Savoy dynasty's Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia. However, no written act or international treaty recorded the annexation at the time. Seborga's existence has since been omitted from a succession of treaties, including Italy's Act of Unification of 1861. That led its residents to claim that they lived in a sovereign state. Since then, at any rate, it has never been recognized by any state or admitted to an international organisation.
The independence claim has been alleged to be nothing more than a marketing gimmick for the town's tourist industry, thriving, among other things, from circulating the Luigino, heir apparent of the Louis d'Or coined in Seborga while its mint was still active. This claim however, is contested by others who believe that Seborga has a legitimate claim to independence and recognize the town as such.
Economy and culture
Seborga is known in the region for its agricultural activity: in particular, cultivation and collection of olives and floriculture crops. Thanks to Seborga's publicity as a principality, tourism has expanded in recent years. The principality's historic town centre was also restored, ensuring that its charms were protected from commercial overdevelopment.
Seborga is situated along Provincial Road 57 in Imperia. The nearest freeway access is at the Bordighera exit on the A10. The nearest railway station is also the one in Bordighera, on the Ventimiglia-Genoa line.
Principality of Seborga
In the early 1960s, Giorgio Carbone, then head of the local flower-growers co-operative, began promoting the idea that Seborga retained its historic independence as a principality. By 1963 the people of Seborga were sufficiently convinced of these arguments to elect Carbone as their ostensible head of state. He then assumed the self-styled title Giorgio I, Prince of Seborga, which he claimed thereafter.
Carbone's status as prince (although without any legal power) was further supported by locals on 23 April 1995, when, in an informal referendum, Seborgans voted 304 in favour, 4 against, for the principality's constitution, and in favour of independence from Italy. Carbone reigned until his death on 25 November 2009. The prince was known locally as Sua Tremendità ('His Tremendousness').
The Republic of Italy and international institutions consider and treat Seborga (unlike San Marino or Vatican City State, enclaved in the peninsula) as an integral part of the territory of Italy. Moreover, there is no tension between the Principality of Seborga and the Italian government, because the Italian government believes the Principality to be purely symbolic. Law enforcement, public health, telecommunications, school services and all other public services are provided as in the rest of Italy. Seborgans regularly pay taxes, participate in the Italian administrative life, and vote in local and national (Italian) elections. For instance, in the elections of the Senate in 2001 the voter turnout was 84.21%.
- All demographics and other statistics from the Italian statistical institute (Istat)
- "Prince of Seborga fights on for 362 subjects", Italy Magazine, 15 June 2006
- "Noel Gallagher is my choice for monarch", Caitlin Moran, The Times, 30 January 2006
- Obituary: 'His Tremendousness Giorgio Carbone', Daily Telegraph, 27 November 2009.
- "Battle rages for His Tremendousness's throne", Malcolm Moore, Daily Telegraph, 13 June 2006
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