Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

A mountain community in Liguria has exploited a little legal loophole in European history to assert its independence. Welcome to the Principality of Seborga.

article summary —

The road from the coast zigzags up through terraces crowded with glasshouses. Sometimes there is a glimpse of villages up in the hills above and then a view back down to the Mediterranean below. High, high into the hills climbs the lane and then we reach the border. There are none of the normal hints that we might be approaching an international frontier. No signs announcing the last place to fill up with fuel before entering a foreign land.

This is not to say that Seborga does not take its borders seriously. An unnecessarily fussy sign proclaims a multilingual welcome, asserting in four languages that the traveller is entering the Principato di Seborga. There are flags aplenty, a heraldic crest painted on the tarmac and even a sentry post on the side of the road. There is no official welcoming committee at the frontier, nor even a solitary border guard. So we drive on, and within a few minutes have climbed up to the village that gives the principality its name.

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About the authors

hidden europe

and Susanne Kries manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 28.