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The Village Kingdom: how an Italian settlement lives with a prince and a princess dreaming of independence

About 300 residents of the territory are sure that they got into the state by mistake, and their final goal is a referendum on separation.

Representative of the unofficial royal guard of Seborga. Hereinafter the photo belongs to the authorities of Seborga

In the far north of Italy there is a small village called Seborga, although among the local population it is customary to call it the Principality of Seborga. This piece of land, where about 300 people live, has its own anthem, flag, currency and monarch. And also the belief that the village can gain independence from Italy.

The history of “independence” of the region began spontaneously – the local florist found a legal discrepancy in the old documents, which gave him the opportunity not only to find like-minded people in a referendum, but also to become a “king”. The details of life in Seborg told the publication Vice.

A small place called the kingdom

If you happen to be in Seborg, you might really think that this is a separate country. In the shop windows and in the houses there are portraits of the “King”, a rare horse guard of the monarch moves around the village, and on the roofs of the buildings a blue and white flag of the village develops. At the entrance to many local shops you can see a sign telling you that you can pay luijino here. One unit of this currency costsabout six dollars.

“It’s not that one day we woke up and realized that it would be nice to declare independence,” says unofficial Princess Seborga Nina Menegatto. According to her, her husband, Prince Marcello, has documents proving that Seborgu was never attached to Italy. In 1729, the village and the nearest 14 kilometers to it allegedly acquired the Sardinian Kingdom, later becoming part of Italy. But the princess claims that the land transfer contract was not signed and not officially certified, so it is invalid.

The idea of ​​secession quite spontaneously came to the village in the 1960s. A local florist named Giorgio Carbone was carried away by the history of his native land. He turned to the old tomes of history and stumbled upon a controversial legal moment with the sale of the village, which pushed him to the idea of ​​a referendum. This was enough to make Carbone surround himself with supporters, and the inhabitants of Seborg began to perceive themselves apart from Italy.

Catholic church in the main square of the village
When most of the village caught fire with the idea, Carbon was elected monarch. Since then, in the settlement he is known as “His Thunder”, and the local call him “an intelligent businessman who knows several languages.” “Seborga is like one big family, where everyone knows everyone,” explains Princess Nina.

After declaring himself Prince Carbone tried to achieve international recognition by launching his own currency into circulation with his portrait on coins. With him, Seborga acquired a flag and an analog of passports, although the latter was more of a souvenir than a real document. The Italian also established in the “principality” an army of three people: the Minister of Defense and two border guards.

With age, Carbone’s ideas acquired more eccentric forms – for example, he began to come to a meeting with local residents with a sword on his belt and a medallion around his neck. The 1990s became the peak of Seborg’s fame, and at that time Carbone massively gave interviews to both Italian and European press.

Giorgio Carbone in later years

In the same years, the press began to meet the view that Carbon’s real goal was not “to restore national justice” for the people of Seborga, but to create a kind of tourist attraction from the village. This was also indicated by Carbone’s statement that he opened a village consulate in 20 countries. Later he named the figure in 35 countries, including mentioning the consulate in Russia, allegedly opened in May 1996.

Since the very foundation of his “kingdom” Carbonet has not abandoned attempts to achieve recognition of independence from Italy, but all his requests to the authorities regularly ignored. In 2009, a 73-year-old entrepreneur died of an incurable sclerosis. His body was cremated, and the ashes were scattered in the sea.

At the time of writing, failed to communicate with representatives of the Moscow consulate of Seborga or at least confirm the fact of its existence. The prospective consulate number is not serviced, and no one answered the e-mail request by e-mail.

“Game of Thrones”

Officially Seborga is a virtual state. That is, the territory that declares its statehood and shows signs of the state, but it is not. The first virtual states appeared at the end of the 19th century, but with the development of the Internet, this concept quickly spread throughout the world.

The main pressure of the supporters of this concept occurred at, it seemed, the most neutral part of the Earth – Antarctica. Since the 2000s, it has been “divided” by at least ten communities: among them the Vestarktika, the American Soviet Republic and the Roman Empire. Some enthusiasts go further – for example, as Igor Ashurbeyli, from 2016 creating the cosmic state of Asgardia .

“Restaurants and souvenir shops exist only thanks to tourism. People are curious, so they come to look at us, “says Princess Nina. Sometimes the settlement is visited even by tourists from Japan, although in this northern wilderness of Italy they can be met very rarely.

Seborga in the evenings

Nina and her husband visited Seborg in the 2000s, coming from Monaco, and decided to stay. Marcello bought out an old house, repaired and rebuilt it, and then settled in the village to work. The couple participated in the life of the settlement, so when in 2009 Carbone died, leaving no heirs, the village voted for the election of Marcello as a prince.

At first, the husband decided that his husband had struck a fictitious adventure, but then went deep into the history of the “independence” of the village and supported the idea. In 2010, spouses who got into Seborg accidentally became its rulers: Marcello became a prince, and Nina took up the post of foreign minister (although she is still called a princess).

State without rights

Seborga does not have an independent territory and government, since the village is part of Italy. But recently local residents are concerned not so much with this as the impostors. In 2016, the royal couple discovered that a certain Frenchman launched the site and began to pretend to be Prince Seborgi, although he visited the village only once. Italian authorities in the region turned to the author of the site with a demand to stop pretending to be a prince and to close the resource, but nothing has changed since then.

Nina Menegatto at the UN conference
Over the past few years, Nina and Marcello have become not the last guests in the European Court of Human Rights in an attempt to establish international relations as representatives of the village. The couple plans to get the status of “observers” from the UN, which gives them the opportunity to speak from the rostrum of the organization as representatives of a certain community.

Nina and her husband totally reject the idea of ​​forcibly securing independence from the Italian government. According to the princess, the people of Seborga will never “go with knives” to Italy. The “royal” status did not give them special privileges, but rather only provided an opportunity to help local residents and monitor their safety.

Look at other countries wanting independence, look at Catalonia. Of course, nothing is impossible. Look what happened to Brexit, look at Trump. Who knows what will happen in the future?

Nina Menegatto
unofficial princess of the Italian village of Seborga
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