Anna Fill Interviews
The Principality & the Princess - Nina Menegatto
Seborga, the pretty Italian hilltop village that sits elegantly over the Mediterranean Sea is steeped with history and tradition. Seborga has claimed to be a Principality owing to a little archiving mishap dating back to the 1700s... Since 1963 Giorgio Carbone held the title of Prince Georgio l until his death in November 2009.
In 2010, a new Prince was crowned, Marcello Menegatto l. The 'princely' role which is held for 7 years saw new elections take place this year 2017, with an additional burst of international interest with Marcello's position being contested by local English resident Mark Dezzani. Marcello Menegetto was re-elected and will maintain in office for another 7 years.
Marcello's wife Nina Menegatto was born in Germany. She was educated in Switzerland and it was during these informative years that she first met Marcello and a bond between them was created. Her intention was to further her education at a university in London but Marcello feared that if they chose different directions they would no longer be able to continue their relationship as their worlds would naturally be divided. It was at this point that Marcello influenced Nina to attend the International University in Monaco. They moved to Monaco in 2004 and Nina completed an MBA in Marketing.
The following year Marcello and Nina were married and they moved to the picturesque village of Seborga in Italy. It was here that together they developed their construction company. With a true passion for Seborga, very quickly the couple built a strong reputation in the village and amongst the locals. Following the death of Prince Georgio in late 2009, it was the Privy Council who approached Marcello to ask him to take the role of the next Prince.
Although there is no official 'Princess', Nina is certainly making waves in the tiny Principality with a strong mission to raise the profile of Seborga on every level. She has taken to the role of Princess very sincerely and seriously and has made the position her own.
"These roles we have in the Principality are voluntary but we do it with such passion. We really believe in what we do and the things we are trying to achieve" says Nina.
Nina was voted by the residents of Seborga to be Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Privy Council. She speaks 4 languages: German, Italian, English and French, which makes her an excellent communicator.
Nina explains how she has grown into this fairy tale role of Princess. She has seen the positive changes within herself making her more confident and more capable to handle challenges and seize opportunities.
With a population of 320 full time residents rising to over 2000 in the summer, Nina is encouraging and driving the initiative to make Seborga a global attraction. Last year together with the Seborga Government (Privy Council) they headed to Delhi in India with the aim to form new bonds and boost tourism. "This was definitely an experience for the Italians, especially the spicy culinary delights." smiles Nina. Keen visitors include the Japanese and Americans who are charmed by the culture and history and so they arrive in great numbers.
"During summer, our program of events attracts not only those far and wide but locals in neighbouring villages and those living on the French Riviera who are fascinated by Seborga and what we represent".
"But what makes Seborga so special is that we as residents come together as one big family. At Christmas and Halloween everyone in the village gets involved and that sense of 'famiglia' is realised, and all the hard work is so worthwhile" adds Nina.
Nina manages much of the publicity and communication for the Prince and the Principality. Even though she effortlessly supports her husband, Nina still has her own ambitions. Nina is a strong and determined woman and openly states 'behind every successful man, there is a successful woman'. There are two great goals Nina is presently working towards... The first being the project to construct a 4/5 star hotel with spa situated on a hill overlooking the village that will not only attract tourists but will also help local business in the village. The other is to hold annually a very glamorous and beautiful 'Ballo della Mimosa', a dance to celebrate the wonderful mimosa season.
Prince Marcello l & Princess Nina of Seborga
A future ambition which Nina says is all a bit hush-hush for the moment, is to develop an events company with children in Monaco. Watch this space!
Nina is extremely well travelled and a very level thinking head sits on her shoulders. She is down to earth and seeks simplicity over complication. Nina feels fortunate to be able to divide her time between the two prominent places in her life. Monaco gives her the buzz and the action, and her home in Seborga so quiet and peaceful is shared with her 'Prince', her dogs, horses and sheep! The question of home and where that is, was easily answered 'Home is where my heart is and that's Seborga'!
So this is clearly a young woman with a focused and strong mind and will and is achieving great things. She is making the most of her role as Princess and carving out a future that will shape not only her future but also those around her... she certainly is very much the Princess she so deserves to be. I could not have met a kinder and more happier Princess. This is a 'Once upon a time' story, that is destined to have a 'happy ever after' ending.