The Principality of Monaco and the charming village of Dolceacqua in Liguria are now twinned cities, marking a new chapter in a cherished relationship that has spanned five centuries.
Less than an hour’s drive from Monaco is the picturesque village of Dolceacqua. The Ligurian town is particularly noted for its castle and medieval stone bridge, which spans the Nervia River and connects the two sides of the commune, as well as its selection of quaint shops and traditional eateries that line the cobbled streets.
Dolceacqua has a long, shared history with the Principality that formally began when Françoise Grimaldi married Luc Doria in 1491.
Nearly 30 years later, in August 1523, a tragedy beset both branches of the family when the couple’s son, Barthélemy Doria, assassinated his uncle and the Lord of Monaco in the Principality.
Following the death of Lucien Grimaldi and the ensuing chaos, his brother Augustin Grimaldi, the Bishop of Grasse who became the next Lord of Monaco, demanded that the trustees of Dolceacqua, Apricale, Isolabona and Perinaldo swear a loyalty oath to him.
On 3rd November 1523 in Monaco, these communes agreed, inextricably tying them to the Principality for years to come.
Exactly 500 years to the day, Monaco and Dolceacqua were officially twinned on 3rd November 2023.
In the morning, Mayor of Monaco Georges Marsan met with his Dolceacqua counterpart, Fulvio Gazzola, to sign a “twinning oath” at the Maire de Monaco.
Prince Albert II of Monaco was in attendance, as were Italy’s Ambassador to Monaco, Giulio Alaimo, and Anne Eastwood, Monaco’s Ambassador to Italy, as well as several Monegasque and Italian authorities.
Accompanied by the Municipal Band of Monaco, the group took the short walk to the Palais, where Prince Charlene was waiting, for a special viewing of the historical 1523 oath in its original version.
The afternoon began with a second signing event held in the church square of Dolceacqua in the presence of both the Monegasque and Italian retinues, as well as members of the public.
Then, with the formalities out of the way, the party could start and lasted until evening fell.
The twinning is a natural progression for the two locations, who have grown closer in the past decade. The Ligurian enclave is a proud member of the Grimaldi Historic Sites network and Prince Albert was made honorary citizen of Dolceacqua in 2018 on back of a series of official visits aimed at solidifying ties.
In April of this year, a Julien Spiewak photographic exhibition entitled ‘Monaco-Dolceacqua 500’ was held with great success in both the Grands Appartements of the Palais Princier and the Castello dei Doria of Dolceacqua.
Dolceacqua is the third municipality to be twinned with Monaco, after Belgium’s Ostend in 1958 and Lucciana in Corsica in 2009.
On 4th November, Prince Albert also made a special visit to the villages of Isolabona, Apricale and Perinaldo to officially welcome these Dolceacqua neighbours into the Grimaldi Historic Sites network.
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Photos credits: Ed Wright Images, Michael Alesi, Eric Mathon, Axel Bastello, Mairie de Monaco and Palais Princier de Monaco