13 December 2005

The return of the Knights of Seborga

It was the year of our Lord 1186 when, in the stronghold of Seborga, the centre of the said priorate, by the decree of Saint Bernard of Chiaravalle (Clairvaux), the povera milizia di Cristo (the poor militia of Christ) came into being, to protect the territories of the priorate, as well as the arrival and departure point for the crusades in the Terrasanta (the Holy Land).
In 1363, after several tragic events for the old militia of Christ, Prince Abbot of Seborga Pons Lance decided to reform the force by founding the “Venerabilis Equester Ordo Principatus Sancti Sepulchri”, from which the knights travelled far and wide through Europe and the Middle East, always as defenders of the priorate (the principality) of Seborga and the Christian faith.
With the arrival of the 19th century the militia was reduced to a few units surviving until the conflict of World War II.
H.R.H. Giorgio I° came to the throne in 1962, by popular consent, and since that time pledged that one day he would re-institute the knights of the “Venerabilis Equester Ordo Principatus Sancti Sepulchri”. The many engagements that followed his mandate forced Prince Giorgio I° to delay the plan until the year 2000 when the first Priorate was formed. From that time until today 6 new Priorates have been established: one in France and five in Italy, but not until recently in Seborga.
Following a meeting one day between the Prince and the knights of the E.N.G.E.A. (Ente Nazionale Guide Equestri Ambientali) a series of developments lead to the opening of a representative office in Seborga of E.N.G.E.A. and subsequently the idea of establishing a Priorate in Seborga.
The proposal was received with great enthusiasm by both parties and it was decided to organize a date to carry out the investiture.
On the 9 October 2005 at 16,30, H.R.H. Giorgio I°, accompanied by the French and Roman prior, received the 10 knights of the E.N.G.E.A. in the old public square of San Martin and in the Church of San Martin.
The knights were dressed in the typical habit (saio) to receive the blessing and then the white mantle with the sword to make an oath of loyalty and reverence towards the Sacred Principality of Seborga. It was a very significant, solemn and moving ceremony.
The knights invested were: Prior Vinati Matteo from Brescia; Vice-Prior Magnetto Attilio from Seborga; Master of Arms Testarella Mauro from San Vero Milis (Or); Sir Peli Leonardo from Brescia; Sir Gianfranco Guerra from Bergamo; Sir Paris Marcello from Rome; Sir Del Vecchio Augusto from Milan; Sir Ivaldi Cesare from Asti; Sir De Michelis Piero Michele from VillaNova Solara (Cn); Sir Musso Lorenzo from Seborga; chaplain of the priory, Don Marco Muraglia.
Soon after the ceremony the knights, the godfathers, the chaplain, the priors and the Great Prior met for the first assembly with a full program of tasks, collaborations, projects and assistance for the needy and humanitarian missions in disadvantaged lands.
These knights of the Principality, through the establishment of the magioni, will carry their creed and faith in all the Regions, Provinces and towns of Italy and in other countries where the E.N.G.E.A. and its associates are present.
Sincere wishes to all and keep up the good work. Adina Pinzi
For more information write to: cavalieriss@sitogea.net or visit: www.sitogea.net

Awarded the winners of the first literary competition

A function was held in Seborga on 11th November to award the winners of the first literary competition held by the Historical Library of Seborga and sponsored by the Seborga Munincipality and by the Principality. Among the public at the event, were present H.R.H. Prince Giorgio I, the Mayor of Seborga Mr Franco Fogliarini and several local authorities. All the winners of the competition received a commemorative inscription and a parchment.
Given the success of the first edition, a similar competition will be held next year and the guidelines of how to participate will be published in this magazine in due time.
Recently a new section was added to the library collections: an historical numismatic section of coins from the Genoa and Savona Mints and several commemorative medallions of particular historical value.

Other news...

The Seborga Ensemble will perform next Thursday, 15th December with a repertoire of Christmas carols and traditional songs as part of a promotional program organized and held by the Vineyard estate Cantina Sociale del Dolcetto di Clavesana.

* * *
Next year on 14th May, a month after the Italian political elections, several munincipalities of the Liguria Region will have to hold elections for the renewal of their local councils; among them the munincipality of Seborga.

To all its readers,
the SeborgaPress
wishes a safe
and peaceful
and a happy
and prosperous
New Year!

07 November 2005


This coming Friday, 11 November, starting at 15:00 at the “Sala Polivalente” of Seborga three authors will receive awards in the inaugural Literary Competition organized by the Historical Library of Seborga.
The competition comprised of edited and original scripts in Italian or French regarding Nations, personalities, buildings, documents, artistic features and historical events of any country in the world.
The works were selected and judged by a jury supervised by the Mayor of Seborga: Mr Franco Fogliarini. Here are the titles and names of the winners:

“The influences of the French culture in the Gran Duchy of Tuscany 1737-1790” by V. Massai;

“Sacred articles embroidered and painted at Santa Lucia del Mela” (a locality in Sicily);

“Trails of pilgrimages for the Archangel Michael in Campania, between the middle ages and the modern era” by C. Cerase.

The Historical Library of Seborga was inaugurated on the 23 April 2005 and initiate by Mr Giorgio Pistone.
The Municipality of Seborga donated the premises (a small room) and Mr Pistone donated the entire collection that comprises two thousand books, six hundred magazines and summaries, all of an historical nature.
Since the opening, the Library has been visited by scholars and people of all types and age: from an 11 year old girl of Moroccan origin to a lady of 92 years.
Many researchers come to visit the Library from the nearby towns. In particular, one student is from Oslo (Norway) who is studying the toponymy of the nearby town of Vallebona.
In the library are also kept thousand of photocopies and original documents of the XIV-XX centuries, regarding the Principality of Seborga.
All this material was recovered by Pistone from archives in Ventimiglia, Nice, Turin, the Vatican, Genoa and Vienna, in Germany, in Belgium and in Spain.
Giorgio Pistone has work for 53 years as a land surveyor and technical consultant for tribunals and Courts of Appeal. He has published 29 volumes of subjects related to his profession.
He has also written historical books related to the city of Sanremo and the Principality of Seborga. Lately he has also composed poems and theatrical plays in the local dialect.
The Historical Library of Seborga is open to the public Mondays from 15:30 to 17:30. All are welcome.

05 November 2005


The following is an extract of a translated article published in Italian in the “Gazzetta di Seborga nel Mondo” and written by the newly elected President of the “Seborga Nel Mondo Association”: Elisanna Capocaccia Lippi. We decided to publish it here and shared with you because this article is a vivid account of the many aspects that characterized this mission to Moldavia and a good insight into what the people involved in this project went through. As you will discover, this will not be the last trip to Moldavia. There is a wish – despite the difficulties encountered – to return and do a few things. According to Flavio Gorni from the Protezione Civile of Seborga and Vallebona (the Seborga and Vallebona Emergency Services) there is also a plan for next year to visit two places: one in April to Transnistria and the second one to Paraguay at the end of August. For more information, visit the following website (available only in Italian): http://seborga.blogspot.com

25 August 2005: from a small and picturesque village of the Liguria Riviera, a group of volunteers of the Emergency Services united under the name “Seborga nel Mondo (Seborga in the World, a non profit association) starts a humanitarian journey with the destination Chisinau.
This group is made up of people from regions such as Liguria, Piedmont, Valle d'Aosta, from Rome and my self, from Lombardy. Its 23:00 and the column of cars, vans and a truck start to move from the main public square of the Principality of Seborga crowded with people wanting to meet us and farewell us.

The local authorities are there and the Bishop of Ventimiglia too with his blessing for us. And so we go through the freeway illuminated by the beacons of our lights… via Tortona, Brescia, Verona, and then a short stop and up again towards Udine, Tarvisio, Austria...
More stops on the way for change the drivers have some breakfast with coffee made from home, lunches made of slices of breads with tomato, a little bit of salt and olive oil, all rigorously carried from home.
And up on the road again that leads us to Chisinau, but we must cross Austria, Hungary and Romania first! And while we are travelling we are full of enthusiasm, chatting along and wanting to exchange ideas and expectations about the mission and what may lay ahead for us.
We talk about our lives, the ups and downs, our hopes… we start to get to know each other better and lay the ground for a deep, solid and beautiful friendship that I hope will last forever.
And in the meantime the landscapes are passing by and changing in front of us: from the green and rich slopes of Austria, to the well kept Hungary and everything is going well.
Finally we reach the border of Romania! First signs of something wrong… the stop is long, too long and wearing. We try to occupy ourselves by having something to eat, by making some coffee but we talk less. It is our eyes that speak on our behalf while we look discreetly at our friends frantically dealing with the customs police. All our papers are in order: permits, authorisations, forms from the Red Cross and UNICEF and finally we can pass.
We feel something weighing heavily upon us, we feel apprehensive but at the same time hopeful, but this stop is bothering us. But we are travelling now and crossing Romania with cheerful spirits with songs and laughs to the next border. Here the truck full of humanitarian aid, clothing for men, women and children and other material is stopped. Hours of negotiations, of frantic phone calls, of begging, of waving documents are taking place. Nothing seems to help.
The truck that carries only aid donated by many cheerful hearts from Seborga is halted. It cannot pass. It’s night. We decide to go ahead with the rest of the convoy. We will try to resolve the problem tomorrow. Sadness and helplessness overcomes us and with heavy hearts we approach the Moldavia border. More bureaucracy… endless bureaucracy is awaiting us. They don’t even help us to fill in the visa forms that each of us has to pay from our own pocket.
After a couple of hours we cross the border. We travel the last leg of our journey that will take us to Chisinau: a shabby road, full of holes and dogs corpses crushed by cars.
Dogs that crowds the countryside and the cities of Moldavia, abandoned and stray dogs, ideal for spreading disease! Finally we see the lights of Chisinau, one stop in a trattoria for a frugal dinner and on the move again towards the association that will accommodate us all.
A cold shower (and for the next 6 days) and then everyone goes to sleep in their sleeping bags. No one has the courage to admit it but we have fearful of tomorrow, for what will happen to our truck full of stuff seized at the border. Will we get it back? Will they steal the goods? Will they want money? It’s morning now. Four of us will go to the border, the rest will remain here to get ready for the mission, to do training, to look for wholesalers and buy material that we need.
More problems… Between lies, indirect threats and excuses from those who are supposed to be interpreters and institutions, we become lighter and poorer!! But we begin to raise our heads and start to say “no” or "after" to try to buy time. There is no doubt that we are in a corrupt country but we are not so naive!!!

To cut it short: the truck arrives after paying 910 euro and leaving 10 tons of goods, plus 300 euro for being granted some cold water for the showers and a shelter to sleep in our sleeping bags... They still want more money and goods but “we will bring them in the next trip...” He who deceives is himself deceived!
If you think that – after all - we were lucky, listen to this: we wanted to inspect an orphanage that was reported to us with big problems in Transnistria (a Moldova region self proclaimed independent in 1990 but not recognized by other states).
At the border we were robbed by the customs officers of 200 Euro with the threat that if we did not pay, they would have to put us in jail for two years for transporting suspicious equipment!!!! In order to maintain contact with the convoy at the traffic lights and crossings we were equipped with portable radio transmitters with a maximum capacity of 5 km radius. The same types used by kids to play. After we pay and see some smiling faces in return, we get back our portable radios and are wished a good trip.
However, despite all these depressing episodes, all the rest went well. The population that lives their poverty with dignity is in need of everything. Just a visit to the market and you discover that what they sell in plenty of supply is misery!
Someone sells one of his two eggs or one litre of the one and a half litre of milk to be able to buy some socks for his kid or to buy one loaf of bread. The earth itself is black, empty, untilled and seems to cry of desperation! There are no usual agricultural tools here. To cut the grass they use a scythe hook. Every morning the women take their cows to graze the grass in meadows 3 or 4 km away...
In the cities groups of stray dogs roam in search of crumbs that will never fall from those who have not bread to eat! However, we carried out the entire programs that we planned and regained the time lost. We managed to hand out everything and buy locally to then distribute towels, underwear, stockings, antiseptics, detergents, rice, pasta, flour, tins of tuna and meat.
Nothing special for such poverty but the smiles, the poetry recited for us, the eyes
full of appreciation made us feel "great"! And this thanks to all of those that have helped us… You are the providers of this beautiful gesture that we have only carried out.
We came home with beautiful memories; beautiful evenings spent together among the local people (all documented by our famous photographer and photo reporter, both volunteers). I hope that they will make a photo album and a CD to sell and finance other projects.
We have plans to renovate an orphanage and build proper bathrooms for another orphanage; therefore we need the help of everybody! Even the 50 cents from a child that renounces his snack could help!
This precious money will go to a less fortunate child that with his little nose resting on a dirty and broken window frame is dreaming of a cuddle, a friendly hand, a pair of socks in order to protect himself from the cold! We can all make a difference for these and other less fortunate ones!

To those who are planning to visit the Liguria Region, I would like to say this: come to visit the Principality of Seborga. You will get to know and meet GEORGE I, a charismatic and altruistic person, beyond every expectation. You may also have the chance to see his knights in their white uniforms. Come and have lunch or dinner in one of the three restaurants of the Principality. Buy some Luigini (the local currency) and some stamps.
And when summer comes, take part in the parties and festivals held in the public square of Seborga. The local Pro-loco association will direct 10% of the revenue to us from these events. You will do well and at the same time have fun between a tango and a waltz!
To conclude I must thank all the Seborgans, from the first (Prince Giorgio I) to the last. Thank you for all the volunteers that also gave me the honour of electing me as their president and have given me the nick name of “mamma”.
Thank you to the people of Seborga who have accepted me like one of them. I want to thank you Graziella who, like a sister, has made her house available to me.
A big hug from my heart and with God’s help, for any need, I will be among you and won’t disappoint you. Thank you for those that have helped us and will help us again. Together we will make progress.
Elisanna Capocaccia Lippi
(President of Seborga nel Mondo Association)

Seborga is one of thirteen of the sixteen councils belonging to the Intermelia Mountain Community that has joined together for recycling and waste management. The contract for the work has been assigned to Aimeri Ambiente sr Ltd, a company from Legnano (Milan) and will provide the service for the next five years.

14 October 2005

South African Club Lunceon, October 23
The South African Club of the Cote d'Azur is having a luncheon on Sunday October 23rd in the fabled "Principality of Seborga". The host will be local personality Mark Dezzani, a long time resident of Seborga. Mark will be giving commentary, background and the history of the Principality during pre-lunch drinks. Nothing fancy or formal: just casual and good fun. The all inclusive Italian menu including wine and coffee is €17 per person with a reduced menu and price for children at €10. You don't have to be South African to attend, everyone is invited. To reserve telephone Hugh at 04 93 86 04 77 Portable: 06 75 93 90 93 or email: hughmitford@wanadoo.fr

04 October 2005


With the Aida of Giuseppe Verdi, played by the Chamber Orchestra of the Principality of Seborga, the Roman Theatre of Albintimilium, the ancient name of the city of Ventimiglia, reopened to the public for the first time after almost two thousand years of closure. The event, sponsored by the Italian Ministry for the Arts and Cultural Heritage and organized by the cultural associations of Endas and Porta Marina and by the Institute of Research Angelico Aprosio, had the proper title of: “After 2000 years of silence”.
The orchestra conducted by the maestro Vitaliano Gallo, played music from the famous Verdi Opera Aida and from the sound track movies The Gladiator and Star Wars. The proceeds of the evening went to charity.
Giampiero Martino, President of the Archaeological Park of Nervia, said: “It is with great pleasure that the city of Ventimiglia is symbolically reclaiming its history by using again this theatre that our ancestors have wanted. This is an experiment and the theatre has still serious acoustic problems to resolve caused by its proximity to the Aurelia road and the railway lines. But we are positive about resolving these problems by using sound insulation barriers”.

The next commitment for the orchestra is for the 29 October at Imperia-Oneglia University, with a concert starting at 20:30. Music by Boccherini for the 200° anniversary of his death and for the exhibition organized by IBIS (the Italian Buddhist Institute) titled: "i semi del cambiamento" (the seeds of change).
For more information, visit: www.orchestraprincipatodiseborga.com

The construction of the theatre is dated around 180 A.C. Located on the western border of Liguria, Ventimiglia has had a complex history. It begins with the ancient Roman settlement of Albintimilium, the largest town in this part of the province. Considerable Roman remains are visible near the mouth of the Nervia River, while the mediaeval town is perched on a rocky spur to the west. The modern city did not develop until the late 19th century around the railway station. The territory of Ventimiglia offers very fine landscaping and real estate has developed in the zones of Latte and Mortola. The peerless climate and the fertility of the soil were ideal for establishing fine gardens, subsequently renovated in the late 19th century, the most remarkable being the Hanbury Garden.


The entire Principality of Seborga and its people led by H.R.H. Prince Giorgio I, was behind the organisation of a humanitarian project called “Progetto Moldavia 2005” that draws the participation of many associations and groups from many places in Italy and from the Republic of San Marino.
For the preparation of this humanitarian mission the Principality hosted and organized many public events for raising funds and materials needed for the project that started on 26th August and ended the 10th of September.
The group working on this project was formed by volunteers of the Italian, Seborga and Vallebona Emergency Services, members of the “Seborga nel Mondo” association and Red Cross of Bordighera, doctors, registered nurses, veterinarians, first aids trainers, members of the Italian police and interpreters, all under the patronage of UNICEF International and the Liguria Region.

The primary aim of this mission was to provide training in the areas of health (first aid courses, hygiene, child welfare, rehabilitation and physiotherapy) with the purpose of raising the level of autonomy of the local population. The project also was intended to provide the distribution of clothing, curriculum material, agricultural tools and buying local food and pharmaceutical products to promote the local economy.
The team lead by Flavio Gorni comprised of five vans and more than 20 people and left Seborga just before midnight on the 26th August in the presence of many people who wanted to witness this important event. The team was saluted by H.R.H. Prince Giorgio I, the Mayor of Seborga Franco Fogliarini, and Monsignor Alberto Maria Careggio, bishop of the diocese of Ventimiglia and Sanremo.
The mission was accomplished successfully and there is now the feeling and the desire among the organizers and the volunteers that this mission will not be the last.

The Republic of Moldova is a small country, situated in the Southeast part of Europe, neighbouring Romania to the West and Ukraine to the East. This piece of land boasts a rich history, abundant in dramatic event
s and turmoil.
From the XIV century it was a part of the Moldova Principality, situated between Oriental Carpathians and the Nistru River, in the north bounded by Hotin, and in the South – by the Low Danube and the Black Sea. Following the Peace concluded in Bucharest, in 1812, a part of this territory was assigned to Czarist Russia, which called it Basarabia - an older name, earlier attributed to the southern part. The aim was to identify this territory as a separate geographic entity from the Moldova Principality.
The Independence of the Democratic Republic of Moldova was proclaimed in January 1918. And later, on March 27, 1918 it was decided to re-unite it with Romania. The next annexure process took place in 1940, following the Molotov - Ribbentrop summit.

According to this, Basarabia became part of the USSR and was proclaimed as the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldavia. It comprised only nine Basarabian counties and six districts from the left bank of the Nistru River. The present territory of Moldova is smaller compared to the area attributed to Russian authorities in 1812, since the North Hotin, Acherman and the southern Ismail were given up in 1940 by the Soviet authorities to Ukraine.
Due to the restructuring process that started in Central and Eastern Europe, in June 1990 Moldova proclaimed its sovereignty, and on August 27, 1991, its State Independence. On March 2, 1992, the Republic of Moldova became a member of the United Nations.


H.R.H. Prince Giorgio I and His Knights launched in August an artistic auction to cover the costs of restoring the church of San Martin in Seborga. The collection on sale comprised 24 artistic paintings from artists who donated their works for this event and was exhibited at the Park palace of Bordighera.

A Mayor from the Italian Republic and a Knight from the Principality of Seborga were the celebrants of a wedding that took place at the Town Hall of Sassello (Savona). The vice Mayor Michele Ferrando was assisted by the former Mayor of Sassello Paolo Badano wearing the bicolour sash of the Knight of St Bernard of the Principality of Seborga. The couple: Tina and Fahrchid (Iranian and German origin), chose the town of Sassello as a place to holiday and to get married 10 years ago. The couple specifically wanted to be married by the then Mayor Badano who retired from public duty last year.

03 October 2005


Thank you all for the many positive comments and feedback that we have received about our first edition of The Seborga Times. We hope that you may continue to find this publication useful for keeping in touch with the life of our Principality and its people. We have received requests to publish this magazine in languages other than English. We respond to these requests by announcing that from this month The Seborga Times can be read also in Italian. By clicking on “Italian Version” you will be linked to the “Gazzetta di Seborga” which contains the same articles published here. Thank you again for your support and keep writing to us for your feedback or comments that you may have. (The Seborga Times)

14 September 2005


The Principality of Seborga celebrated its main national day last month (20 August), on the occasion of the festival of the patron saint: Saint Bernard. For this event, H.R.H. Prince George I walked with the Knights of the Order of Saint Bernardo di Clairvax: the moment most awaited by its subjects and by many tourists.
Over two days the Principality relived once again a great moment of its history that traces its roots to the past, with historical enactments, flags throwers (sbandieratori), concerts and – of course – the most anticipated food tasting.
The program of the celebrations (sponsored by the Municipality of Seborga, the Pro Seborga Association and the Knights of Saint Bernard) was rich with religious, cultural and entertaining significance.
It all started with a procession of the statue of Saint Bernard from the parochial church of Saint Martino by the ancient church of Saint Bernardo. The statue was escorted by the Knights of Seborga and by H.R.H. Prince George I, with the musical accompaniment of the band of Saint Borghetto Nicolò.
After the procession, the Knights of Seborga offered refreshments in the public square of “Piazza dei Martiri” with food and wine tasting. Once again the main players of this event were the superb dishes cooked by the chefs of the Pro Seborga Association. These dishes were served at the tables set up in the public square while the orchestra played music for all the guests.
During the evening the music gave way to the passage of the historical procession with the folkloristic exhibition of the “sbandieratori” (flags throwers) of Marina di Ventimiglia, wearing the colours white and blue, the same ones of the Principality. The celebrations ended the day after, with a concert in the public square of Saint Martino, performed by the Chamber Orchestra of the Principality, directed by the maestro Vitaliano Gallo. The orchestra played music by Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven and Verdi. Ancient buildings and narrow streets, palms, gardens, mimosa, broom and olive trees set the stage for these unique celebrations.

13 September 2005


“Sacra Militia and the Third Millennium” was the title of an International conference that took place in April at Imperia (Liguria Region) and was organized by the Philatelic Academy and by the Concordia Association. His Royal Highness, Prince Giorgio I of Seborga was among the guest speakers with the topic: “The knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Seborga”.


On Saturday, 23 April 2005 a new organ was unveiled at the parish Church of San Martin in Seborga. For the occasion a concert was held in the church by the Seborga Chamber Orchestra conducted by Maestro Vitaliano Gallo, first bassoon of the Sanremo Symphonic Orchestra, and with the organist Andrea Verrando. After the concert another important event took place in the Principality: the inauguration of the Historical Library of Seborga, by the knight and curator Sergio Pistone. The library consists of more than 1500 precious books.


The Chamber Orchestra of the Principality of Seborga is now on Internet. Founded by maestro Vitaliano Gallo, the orchestra was created in 1998 under the patronage of H.R.H. Prince Giorgio I. “Our aim - said the maestro - is to let the world know through our concerts about the territory, the culture and the traditions of the Principality. Its esoteric and religious tradition go back to 5000 years ago, through a Celtic , Judaic and Christian root. The Principality of Seborga is the only country in the world that has never declared war to someone and thus it was never invaded as a testimony of this message. Our orchestra always displays the flag of the Principality, as a symbol of peace and universal fraternity”. The orchestra consists of 6 to 12 musicians and benefit of the collaboration of artists of international fame. The orchestra performed in France, Japan, USA, in particular in New York for the United Nations. It has recorded a CD for the 2000 Jubilee with the title: Meditation on the Golgotha. (left: Maestro Vitaliano Gallo)

Welcome! Benvenuti!

Welcome to our first edition of THE SEBORGA TIMES: a monthly publication of the Old Principality of Seborga. Our aim is to inform about events that are taking place in the Principality and publish articles and news from and about Seborga. We hope that the readers will discover the enchanting beauty that surrounds this unique place and its ancient and illustrous history. We hope that our readers will visit us regularly and appreciate our efforts to maintain our unique identity and indipendence by supporting our traditions, our history and our dreams. The Editor