Why this Italian village is fighting to become its own country

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How do you found your own country? Well, for starters, you can create your own flag. But lots of places that aren’t countries have flags. So you can also create other things, like your own passports, stamps and currencies. Then you could crown your own monarch, choose your own national anthem, and set up border crossings. With all of this, you are basically an independent state.

The Italian village of Seborga has had it all for almost six decades. A small village of 300 people in the Liguria region near the French border, Seborga is a picturesque village overlooking the Mediterranean – and it is in search of a state.

So why should this small village on the Italian Riviera be its own state? Well, in the 1960s, a guy named Giorgio Carbone led an independence movement for the city. He claimed that Seborga had existed as an independent nation since the year 954 and that when Italy was unified in the 19th century, Seborga was not included in the agreement. As a result, he thought the village should always 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 at odds with the Italian government, it would be fair to assume that the two sides are at war – or, at the very least, bitter rivals. But they are not. Seborga’s antics are largely for tourism purposes. Passports are not serious, laws have no legal value, border crossings are just for show, and village 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 gets sovereignty, it will become an official micronation – and it won’t be Italy’s first either. The country already has a few small nations on its borders, namely San Marino and Vatican City.

If you fancy visiting Seborga on your own, the good news is that it’s really accessible. The nearest airport is Nice, around 45 minutes away by car.

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