On the heights of Bordighera is Sanremo there is one of the most characteristic and rich in history villages in all of Liguria, it is Seborga, its history has its roots in the Middle Ages and for years it has claimed its independence by declaring itself a Principality, let’s discover its history together.
The first historical trace of Seborga comes with an act of 954 in which the Count of Ventimiglia ceded the territory of Seborga to the abbey that rises on the Lerino islands opposite Cannes on the French Riviera.
The monks were the Princes of Seborga until 1700 when the territory was sold to the then King of Sardinia Vittorio Amedeo II who bought Seborga as a personal possession and not to annex it to the Kingdom of Sardinia.
Giorgio Carbone, passionate about history, realized that the acts of annexation of Seborga to the Kingdom of Italy first and to the Italian Republic later were not legitimate and from the 1960s he pursued the cause of the independence of the Principality of Seborga taking the name of Giorgio The Prince of Seborga.
To date, the Principality of Seborga continues its battle to be recognized thanks to the commitment of Princess Nina, the first woman to fill this role.
The history of the Principality has interested and intrigued people from all over the world and even the BBC, the British television broadcaster, made a short documentary on its history a few years ago.
Texts by Andrea Bosio
Seborga and the Templars
The history of the small principality of Seborga would already be curious enough if it were not for the very small village that at the time was called not Seborga but “Castle of the Four Towers” Bernardo di Chiaravalle founder of the Knights of the Order of the Temple, better known as Knights Templar appointed the first 8 knights here in 1117.
Bernard of Clairvaux himself, founder of the Order of the Monks / Knights Templar, wanted to build a small place of worship in Seborga as a testimony of his passage. Subsequently, the Chapel of Bernardo the Elder, still visible today at the entrance to the town.
What to see in Seborga
Seborga is a small village surrounded by nature. It does not have large monuments of international fame, but it is rich in history, traditions and curiosities.
Here are some ideas for a rich and pleasant visit.
Chiesa di San Martino
Built in 1615 in clear Baroque style, it is a small jewel of Ligurian architecture, it was in fact designed by the Genoese architect Arturo Fieschi, in the churchyard in front of the church, made with small stones and the cross of the order of the Knights Templar is visible.
Palazzo dei Monaci
The building adjacent to the church of San Martino has a classic medieval structure with a portico under which there is a small source of drinking water.
Historically it was the seat of the government of the Princes-Abbots who governed Seborga for about 6 centuries, subsequently it hosted the schools and finally the State Mint where Prince George I had the Luigini, the currency of the principality, minted.
On the facade you can see the heraldic coat of arms of the principality and its insignia.
Cappella di San Bernardo il Vecchio
The Chapel of San Bernardo il Vecchio is located at the entrance, its presence is very important as it links the history of Seborga to that of the Knights Templar and in particular to Bernardo di Chiaravalle who here named the first Knights.
Its austerity and the peace that can be perceived inside make it possible to perceive all the history and charm of this ancient place.
Musical Instruments Museum
The museum is built by a private Mr. Giuliano Fogliarino, who has collected over the years countless musical instruments with the most bizarre shapes, inside you can admire more than 130 musical instruments made from 1700 to the present day.
A unique testimony of how music has evolved over the last few centuries.
The exhibition is open to the public every day (except Monday) including holidays, from 10.00 to 13.00 and from 14.30 to 18.00.
Ancient prisons of the Principality
This small room was actually used as a prison over the centuries, inside there is a small bench and rusty chains that date back to a few centuries ago.
It seems that over time about 200 people have been incarcerated here, a plaque outside indicates their presence, not easy to identify otherwise.
Ancient baptismal font or cave of Seborga
Immersed in olive trees and within a private area, an ancient cave has recently been rediscovered whose entrance carved into the rock indicates that it was used as an ancient baptismal font by the monks who lived in the small Principality.
This cave is very important for all the esoteric language related to the Templar monks, who are believed to use this place for their purification and initiation rites.
Templar Monks educational farm and agritourism
The farm is located on the ancient farms once owned by the Templar monks, inside the property there is in fact the aforementioned ancient baptismal font used for monastic rites.
In addition to the production of organic products and mimosa, the farm is known for having rediscovered an ancient variety of tomato typical of Seborga, the “Black Tomato of Seborga”.
Inside the farm there is also a small educational farm where not only children can learn about animals and see how typical agricultural productions take place.
When to visit Seborga
Feast of San Bernardo - 20 August
San Bernardo is the patron saint of the small Principality and the celebrations for this anniversary are very much felt in the town, on the occasion the Princess and the knights parade in full uniform creating a very suggestive moment that allows you to experience an atmosphere rich in history.
The center of religious celebrations is the Chapel of San Bernardo il Vecchio at the beginning of the town.
Mimosa flowering - February and March
Seborga is a small village that thrives on agriculture and in addition to the excellent Taggiasca olive oil, for the production of which it was already famous in the Middle Ages and which made it a coveted territory over the centuries, Seborga is also famous for the production of mimosa.
Seborga is in fact one of the major producers of the flower symbol of Women’s Day, its flowering goes from the end of January to the beginning of March depending on the year, the mild and not at all wintry climate of the valley invites you to walk along the country paths scattered with these magnificent plants with an intense yellow color.
Where to eat in Seborga
In Seborga you cannot miss a good lunch or dinner based on typical dishes of the area, in one of the town’s restaurants, Marcellino’s, Osteria del Coniglio, Trattoria San Bernardo and Agriturismo Monaci Templari.
Just outside Seborga, on the way back to Bordighera, you could stop at the Ca du Nonu farmhouse in the municipality of Vallebona or at Carpe Diem in Sasso di Bordighera.
Where to sleep in Seborga
Seborga is a small village where there are no hotels. If you want to stay right in the Borgo or in the immediate vicinity, to experience a stay in peace and absolute relaxation, you can choose between small B & Bs, guest houses or apartments.
If you are looking for a hotel or accommodation that is surrounded by more services, no doubt you have to look in the nearby and beautiful Bordighera.
How to get to Seborga
Reaching Seborga is very simple.
By car you can get there with the Autostrada dei Fiori, the A10, exiting at Bordighera and then climbing on the left as soon as you exit the toll booth. Keep going up for a few kilometers and you can only get to Seborga.
Localities in the surroundings
ACCOMMODATION A SEBORGA
Discover the best Hotels, B & Bs and Apartments in Liguria based on thousands of verified reviews.