"the" Mrs. Astor

Monday, December 14, 2009

We kept a low profile this weekend; before us sprawls two weeks of holiday parties.
The New York Times used to be so on top of things. Yesterday it announced the passing of one of Europe's reigning princes, Giorgio I of Seborga, a tiny principality in the hills over the Italian Riviera. Most of Europe's papers had reported the event soon after he passed away on November 25. One of the quirkier stories of that continent, Giorgio had long studied the history of his town of 2,000, going back to when it was established in 954. Through a series of errors, the principality was not mentioned in the Congress of Vienna as it divided the European continent and forgotten in the unification of Italy in the late 1800's. So the enterprising flower grower/doctor convinced his fellow villagers to elect him prince in 1963. Translated from Latin, his principality's motto reads, "Sleep In The Shade".
From time to time, Prince Giorgio I visited Seborga's border crossings. There seemed to be no imminent danger of invasion, but why let your guard down.

The principality issued its own stamps and license plates...

...as well as its own passports and currency, although these were only recognized within the borders of its 14 square kilometers. (Someone still has to explain to me why the passport has the Russian translation of that word on it.)
No one in the Italian government minded this rather strange goings on; the citizens still paid taxes to Rome and got its services. Still, Seborga was recognized by a few states and enjoyed and idyllic life on the hills of Northern Italy. A true patriot, Prince Giorgio pronounced that he was married to his state and left no heirs, although a pretender to the throne once tried to overthrow him. Wikipedia has a cute story with a picture of The Palace of Seborga. What a lovely, nonsensical place it would have been to live in.

Oh, yes; Happy Birthday KiKi. Your picnic has been scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday.


At 7:13 PM, Blogger Tosca15 said...

Never mind the prince, please give Kiki a big hug from me, as well as a nice big piece of birthday meatloaf.


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