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Prince Albert II visits Roya Valley

Two new towns have joined the network of "Grimaldi Historic Sites of Monaco" - ┬ę Michael Alesi / Prince's Palace

After his trip to Calabria in southern Italy, the Sovereign travelled to the Roya Valley on Monday 9 October.

After a two-day visit to the “toe of the boot” in Italy on Thursday 3 and Wednesday 4 October, Prince Albert II continues to retrace the footsteps of his ancestors, this time in France, starting in Pi├Ęne-Haute, a hamlet that is part of the Breil-sur-Roya municipality in the Alpes-Maritimes.


S├ębastien Olharan,┬á mayor of Breil-sur-Roya, learned during a conversation with a Sospel resident that the hamlet of Pi├Ęne had once belonged to the Princely Family – ┬ę Michael Alesi / Prince’s Palace

The morning’s schedule included the unveiling of the sign indicating membership of the “Grimaldi Historic Sites” network, followed by a visit to Saint Mark’s Church. The Prince also took part in an official ceremony in the village square, with the local population in attendance, before proceeding to Olivetta San Michele, a municipality on the other side of the border. Back to Italy for the Sovereign.

He also unveiled the traditional sign indicating┬á membership of the “Grimaldi Historic Sites of Monaco” network, before meeting the local authorities and residents at a reception held in the town council chamber – ┬ę Michael Alesi / Prince’s Palace

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A little history

We need to go back in time to understand the ties between these territories and the Grimaldi family. Back to 1500 to be precise, when King Louis XII of France appointed Jean II Grimaldi, Lord of Monaco, Governor of Penna and Ventimiglia.

Although ownership lasted only a few years, in 1523, John II’s brother Lucien, who also became lord of Monaco, was assassinated by his nephew Barth├ęlemy Doria, lord of Dolceacqua. Following this, Bishop Augustin Grimaldi, who succeeded his brother, seized all the Doria fiefdoms, including Penna, for a time.

In 1862, Penna was renamed Piena and in 1890, the municipality’s administrative centre was moved to Olivetta San Michele. In 1947, following the redrawing of the Franco-Italian border, the hamlet of Piena became Pi├Ęne in French, part of the municipality of Breil-sur-Roya.

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