The Principality of Seborga is a micronation
Micronations, sometimes also referred to as model countries and new country projects, are entities that claim to be independent nations or states but which are not recognized by world governments or major international organizations...

 located in the northwestern Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 Province of Imperia
Province of Imperia
The Province of Imperia is a mountainous and hilly province, in the Liguria region of Italy, situated between the Maritime Alps to the north and the Ligurian Sea, an arm of the Mediterranean Sea to the south...

 in Liguria
Liguria is a coastal region of north-western Italy, the third smallest of the Italian regions. Its capital is Genoa. It is a popular region with tourists for its beautiful beaches, picturesque little towns, and good food.-Geography:...

, near the French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 border, and in sight of Monaco
Monaco , officially the Principality of Monaco , is a sovereign city state on the French Riviera. It is bordered on three sides by its neighbour, France, and its centre is about from Italy. Its area is with a population of 35,986 as of 2011 and is the most densely populated country in the...


The principality is coexistent with, and claims the territory of, the town of Seborga
The Principality of Seborga is a micronation located in the northwestern Italian Province of Imperia in Liguria, near the French border, and in sight of Monaco....

, which is an Italian municipality.


During the Middle Ages it became part of the feudal holdings of the Counts of Ventimiglia
Ventimiglia is a city and comune in Liguria, northern Italy, in the province of Imperia. It is located southwest of Genoa by rail, and 7 km from the French-Italian border, on the Gulf of Genoa, having a small harbour at the mouth of the Roia River, which divides the town into two parts...

. By 954 it became the property of the Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 Monks of Santo Onorato of Lerins. In 1079 the Abbot of this monastery was made a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, with temporal authority over the Principality of Seborga.

On 20 January 1729, this independent principality was sold to the Savoy dynasty
House of Savoy
The House of Savoy was formed in the early 11th century in the historical Savoy region. Through gradual expansion, it grew from ruling a small county in that region to eventually rule the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 until the end of World War II, king of Croatia and King of Armenia...

's Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, then ruled by Victor Amadeus II.

The argument for Seborga's present-day status as an independent state is founded on the claim that this sale was never registered by its new owner, resulting in the principality falling into what has been described as a legal twilight zone.

Subsequently, in 1815, the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

 overlooked Seborga in its redistribution of European territories after the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, and there is no mention of Seborga in the Act of Unification
Italian unification
Italian unification was the political and social movement that agglomerated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of Italy in the 19th century...

 for the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.

Princes 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 "Head of State". He then assumed the self-styled title
False titles of nobility
False titles of nobility are supposed titles of nobility that have been fabricated and are not recognised by any government and were not so recognised in the past, even in countries in which titles of nobility once existed or still exist. They have received an increasing amount of press attention,...

 Giorgio I, Prince of Seborga
Giorgio I, Prince of Seborga
Giorgio Carbone was an Italian who claimed to be head of state of the Principality of Seborga, a micronation whose extent is the Italian town of that name, but whose independent status is not recognised outside of Seborga...

, which he held until his death in 2009.

Carbone's status as "Prince" was confirmed on 23 April 1995, when, in an informal referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

, Seborgans voted 304 in favour, 4 against, for the Principality's constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

, and in favour of independence
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

 from Italy. Carbone reigned until his death on 25 November 2009.

Prince Giorgio of Seborga has been styled with the honorific title
Style (manner of address)
A style of office, or honorific, is a legal, official, or recognized title. A style, by tradition or law, precedes a reference to a person who holds a post or political office, and is sometimes used to refer to the office itself. An honorific can also be awarded to an individual in a personal...

 Sua Tremendità ('Your Tremendousness' or 'Your Terrificness').
Title Given name Reign began Reign ended
Prince Giorgio I Giorgio Carbone 
Prince Marcello I Marcello Menegatto
Marcello Menegatto
Marcello Menegatto is an Italian businessman who claims to be the elected head of state of the Principality of Seborga, a micronation existing on the town of the same name. He has assumed the title Marcello I, Prince of Seborga styled as His Tremendousness.- Early life and Marriage :Menegatto was...

reigning monarch


When the princely abbacy ceased to exist, Seborga, if not bought by Piedmont-Sardinia, would have reverted to Ventimiglia (which since 1139 was subordinate to Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

) or else become terra nullius
Terra nullius
Terra nullius is a Latin expression deriving from Roman law meaning "land belonging to no one" , which is used in international law to describe territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state, or over which any prior sovereign has expressly or implicitly relinquished...

. The new state of Italy thus either inherited Seborga, as successor state to both Genoa and Piedmont-Sardinia, or annexed it. Seborga thus became an ordinary Italian commune, as the democratically elected mayor explicitly acknowledges.

There is no tension between the Principality of Seborga and the Italian government. 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%.

It has been claimed that several states have recognized Principality of Seborga, and one state, Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.Its size is with an estimated...

, has even opened a consulate there.


This is the actual Seborgan government:
  • Mauro Carassale: State Secretary and Minister of Internal Affairs
  • Giuseppe Bernardi: Minister of Finances, Tourism and Sports
  • Mirco Biancheri: Minister of Justice (Seals Attendant)
  • Nina Döbler Menegatto: Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Mirko Ferrari: Minister of Motorization and Population Register
  • Bruno Santo: Minister of Environmental Goods and Territory
  • Domenico Falbo: Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forest Politicies
  • Maria Carmela Serra: Minister of Instruction and Youth, Chancellor of the Crown Council
  • Daniele Zanni: Minister of Health


Unlike other micronations, the Principality has an armed force consisting of one lieutenant, Lt. Antonello Lacala. This was an attempt to strengthen their claim of sovereignty. The Principality maintains good relations with the mayor of the commune, and they see that the police forces are provided by Italy rather than them as not.


In June 2006 a minor controversy arose when a woman calling herself "Princess
Princess is the feminine form of prince . Most often, the term has been used for the consort of a prince, or his daughters....

 Yasmine von Hohenstaufen Anjou Plantagenet", who claims to be the rightful heir to the throne
A pretender is one who claims entitlement to an unavailable position of honour or rank. Most often it refers to a former monarch, or descendant thereof, whose throne is occupied or claimed by a rival, or has been abolished....

 of Seborga, wrote to Italy's president
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 offering to return the principality to the state. Her claim was contested by the then-prince
Prince is a general term for a ruler, monarch or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family, and is a hereditary title in the nobility of some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess...

, Giorgio I (Giorgio Carbone), who asserted that there were no credible sources supporting her, and said:

Her claim can be refuted on formal grounds , since it is based on the claimed descendancy of thirteenth century Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

 and the position of Seborga within the Empire. The position of the Holy Roman Emperor was not hereditary, but was based on election by Electors
The Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire were the members of the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire, having the function of electing the Roman king or, from the middle of the 16th century onwards, directly the Holy Roman Emperor.The heir-apparent to a prince-elector was known as an...

. As such, Frederick II never was private owner of the territory of Seborga . In 1806, the Holy Roman Empire ceased to exist. The claim can also be refuted by the claimed descendancy, since there are no legitimate male descendants after the death of Conrad
- Other uses :* Conrad Editora, Brazilian publisher* Conrad Hotels, global luxury brand of Hilton Hotels* Conrad * Conrad , German manufacturer of diecast toys and promotional models...

ine in 1268, when the House of Hohenstaufen ceased to exist.

There are no legitimate descendants in unbroken male line after the death of Conradin
Conrad , called the Younger or the Boy, but usually known by the diminutive Conradin , was the Duke of Swabia , King of Jerusalem , and King of Sicily .-Early childhood:Conradin was born in Wolfstein, Bavaria, to Conrad...

 in 1268, when the House of Hohenstaufen ceased to exist. There are plenty of descendants of the Hohenstaufen via women (see a lot of authoritative genealogies - for example, Europäische Stammtafeln, and Genealogics).

Economy, folklore and tourism

Thanks to the publicity as a principality, tourism expanded. The principality's historic town centre was also restored, ensuring that its charms were protected from commercial overdevelopment.

A local currency, the luigino
Seborga luigino
The Seborga luigino is the local currency of the micronation of Seborga. Its subunit is the centesimo which is valued at 1/100. It was issued between 1994 and 1996. It is circulated alongside the Lira. It is recognised by the regional bank but it has no value outside Seborga.-The value:The value of...

, was issued from 1994 to 1996. The luigino is accepted inside the city (along with the legal currency, the euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

, and before that both Italian lira
Italian lira
The lira was the currency of Italy between 1861 and 2002. Between 1999 and 2002, the Italian lira was officially a “national subunit” of the euro...

 and French franc
French franc
The franc was a currency of France. Along with the Spanish peseta, it was also a de facto currency used in Andorra . Between 1360 and 1641, it was the name of coins worth 1 livre tournois and it remained in common parlance as a term for this amount of money...

); it is recognized by the International Bank
International Bank
International Bank , Limited is a full-service bank based in Liberia. The bank was created when the International Trust Company of Liberia created a commercial banking department in 1960. In 2000 the International Trust Company became the International Bank. It is headquartered in Monrovia....

, but without legal value outside the town. Some claim that the Italian government did not welcome this initiative. It is not clear what is the total amount of luigini issued.

The luigino's value is pegged at US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

6.00, which would make it the world's highest-valued currency unit if it were considered an official currency.
Stamps are also issued. The stamps have only a philatelic
Philately is the study of stamps and postal history and other related items. Philately involves more than just stamp collecting, which does not necessarily involve the study of stamps. It is possible to be a philatelist without owning any stamps...

 value, since the only post office
Post office
A post office is a facility forming part of a postal system for the posting, receipt, sorting, handling, transmission or delivery of mail.Post offices offer mail-related services such as post office boxes, postage and packaging supplies...

 is the Italian one.
The tourist office currently issues a novelty Tourist Passport. It is not a recognised document valid for crossing international boundaries.


Image:Seborga1 cavaliere.png
Image:Seborga scorcio del borgo.png
Image:Seborga2 stemma su facciata.png

See also

  • Giorgio Carbone
  • Seborga
    The Principality of Seborga is a micronation located in the northwestern Italian Province of Imperia in Liguria, near the French border, and in sight of Monaco....

  • Kingdom of Tavolara
    Kingdom of Tavolara
    The Kingdom of Tavolara was a small independent state existing in the 19th and 20th centuries in Tavolara Island, off the northeast coast of Sardinia. Ruled by the Bertoleoni family, it was one of the smallest kingdoms in the world...

  • List of extinct states
  • Micronation
    Micronations, sometimes also referred to as model countries and new country projects, are entities that claim to be independent nations or states but which are not recognized by world governments or major international organizations...

  • Seborga luigino
    Seborga luigino
    The Seborga luigino is the local currency of the micronation of Seborga. Its subunit is the centesimo which is valued at 1/100. It was issued between 1994 and 1996. It is circulated alongside the Lira. It is recognised by the regional bank but it has no value outside Seborga.-The value:The value of...

  • Diplomatic missions of the Principality of Seborga

External links

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