The tiny self-proclaimed Kingdom of Seborga, near Imperia (Liguria) always manages to get in the news. This time, the picturesque hilltop town of 320 inhabitants is insisting that the speciality Taggiasca olives were first planted in its territory, once dominated by Benedictine monks. The taggiasca olive comes originally from the Holy Land and was brought to Italy, it is believed, by crusading monks in early Medieval times. The neighbouring town of Taggia, which gave the olive its name is, needless to say, in disagreement!

Seborga is a unique little community in the hills above San Remo. It claims that it was given royal status in the Dark Ages. Therefore, it elects its own king and councillors. It also mints its own money (the Louis), issues passports and provides Seborga licence plates upon request. None of this is officially recognized by the Italian government. The currency can only be used within the town itself and the car licence plates must be accompanied by regular Italian plates. However, the passports, coins and other royal souvenirs prove popular with tourists.



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