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Seborga, Italy
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Why this Italian village is fighting to become its own country

Seborga already has its own flag, passports, stamps, currency, monarch and national anthem

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

How do you establish your own country? Well, for starters, you could make your own flag. But loads of places that aren’t countries have flags. So you could also make other things, too, like your own passports, stamps and currency. Then you could crown your own monarch, select your own national anthem and set up border crossings. With all that, you’re basically an independent state.   

The Italian village of Seborga has had all that stuff for the best part of six decades. A tiny settlement of 300 people in the region of Liguria near the French border, Seborga is a picturesque village looking out over the Mediterranean – and it’s on the hunt for statehood.

So why should this weeny village in the Italian Riviera be its own state? Well, back in the 1960s, a guy named Giorgio Carbone spearheaded an independence movement for the town. He claimed that Seborga had existed as an independent nation since the year 954, and that when Italy was unified in the nineteenth century, Seborga wasn’t included in the deal. As a result, he believed the village should still be its own independent principality.

Carbone duly crowned himself Prince of Seborga, and remained prince until his death in 2009, when the village became an elected monarchy. The current ruler is Princess Nina Menegatto, a German businesswoman who has held the title since 2019.

Now, based on the fact that Seborga appears to be in conflict with the Italian government, it would be fair to assume that the two sides are at war – or, at the very least, that they’re bitter rivals. But they aren’t. Seborga’s antics are largely for tourism purposes. The passports aren’t serious, the laws don’t have any legal value, the border crossings are just for show, and the village’s currency is more of a souvenir than something most people use on a daily basis.

For all intents and purposes, Seborga is part of Italy, and it looks like it will remain that way for the foreseeable future. But if it ever is granted sovereignty, it’ll become an official micronation – and it won’t be the first in Italy, either. The country already has a couple of tiny nations in its borders, namely San Marino and Vatican City.

If you fancy visiting Seborga for yourself, the good news is that it’s really accessible. The nearest airport is Nice, around 45 minutes’ drive away.

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