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Visit of H.S.H. Prince Albert II to Puglia and Genoa

As part of His regular visits to territories historically linked to His family, H.S.H. Prince Albert II visited the region of Puglia in Italy from 20 to 22 April and Genoa on 23 April 2022.

The municipalities of Terlizzi, Canosa di Puglia, Poggiorsini and Spinazzola, like Genoa, are part of the network of Grimaldi Historical Sites of Monaco. In 1532, Emperor Charles V granted the Lord of Monaco a number of fiefdoms in southern Italy in return for his alliance. Genoa is the birthplace of the Grimaldi family. The Sovereign's ancestors left the city in the late 13th and early 14th centuries to build their sovereignty around the Rock of Monaco.

On Wednesday 20 April, in the early afternoon, H.S.H. the Prince, welcomed by Mr Nicola Gemmato, Mayor of Terlizzi, in the province of Bari, unveiled the signpost indicating that the town belongs to the network of "Grimaldi Historical Sites of Monaco".

The Prince, guided by the mayor, was then able to visit the church of Santa Maria di Sovereto, where an engraved inscription with the Grimaldi coat of arms was presented to him. He continued His tour on foot through the streets of the town and unveiled a plaque commemorating His visit on the site of the old castle. He then went to the cathedral to observe, on one of its facades, the coat of arms of a cousin of Prince Honoré II, Mitred Archpriest of Terlizzi at the beginning of the 17th century. The Prince then paid His respects in front of the war memorial with the laying of a wreath of flowers after listening to the Monegasque, European and Italian national anthems played by the town's orchestra.

Later in the afternoon, H.S.H. the Prince continued His visit to Trani, in the province of Barletta-Andria-Trani. Along with the Mayor of the city, Mr Amadeo Bottaro, the Sovereign visited the Cathedral of San Nicola Pellegrino, a notable building of the city, dating back to the Norman period. The day ended with a dinner in the presence of the Monegasque delegation and the mayors of Trani, Canosa di Puglia, Terlizzi, Poggiorsini and Spinazzola.

On the morning of Thursday 21 April, H.S.H. the Prince was welcomed to Canosa di Puglia, a town also located in the province of Barletta-Andria-Trani, by the mayor Mr Roberto Morra. On His arrival, the Prince unveiled the sign indicating that the town belongs to the network of "Grimaldi Historical Sites of Monaco".

The Sovereign then went to the Town Hall, where a plaque commemorating His visit was unveiled. The Prince continued His walk through the streets of the historic city centre before laying a laurel wreath in front of the war memorial.

Later, the Prince visited the Luigi Einaudi hotel school where the reception room of this school was newly christened "Salle Prince Albert II de Monaco", in the presence of the local authorities, the Headmaster, the teachers and the students.

At the end of the morning, the Prince visited the site of Castel del Monte, located in the municipality of Andria, west of Bari, for a guided tour of this remarkable 13th century building, which has been on UNESCO's World Heritage List since 1996.

After a lunch offered by the Municipality of Andria, the Sovereign and His Delegation were taken to Garagnone Castle, nestled in the heart of the Alta Murgia National Park, located near Spinazzola and Poggiorsini. H.S.H. the Prince unveiled an information panel about the site's links with Monaco, in the presence of the Mayor of Spinazzola, Mr Silvestri Giuliana, the Mayor of Poggiorsini, Mr Ignazio Di Mauro, and the President of Alta Murgia National Park, Mr Francesco Torantini.

Garagnone Castle owes its name to Roberto Guaragna, one of the Norman knights who arrived in Italy in 1048. It was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1731. Today, only a few underground rooms and part of the walls are still visible. In 2022, the Alta Murgia National Park launched proceedings to purchase the castle.

In the early evening, the Sovereign Prince travelled to Matera, the capital of the province of the same name in Basilicata. This Italian city was the European Capital of Culture in 2019 and is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

On the morning of Friday 22 April, H.S.H. the Prince took a guided tour of the Sassi di Matera. He was then welcomed by the local authorities at the Palazzo del Governo. The Prince then went to Contrada Pietrapenta, about 12 km from Matera, to visit the Crypt of Original Sin, one of the most significant examples of medieval painting in the Mediterranean.

This princely visit to Puglia ended in Arberobello, a town in the Itria Valley, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch offered by the Mayor, Mr Michele Longo, the Prince visited the trulli, small dry-stone houses with cone-shaped roofs covered with limestone.

In the early evening, H.S.H. the Prince left Puglia for Genoa, capital of Liguria and birthplace of the Grimaldi family.

On the morning of Saturday 23 April, H.S.H. the Prince attended the opening of the 12th edition of Euroflora, an exhibition dedicated to flowers and ornamental plants, which will be held in Genoa until 8 May 2022. Welcomed by the Mayor of Genoa, Mr Marco Bucci, the President of the Liguria Region, Mr Giovanni Toti, the President of Porto Antico Genova, Mr Mauro Ferrando, and the Director of Euroflora, Mr Salvatore Suracce, the Sovereign visited the stand of the Exotic Garden of Monaco, which is taking part in this floral event. Prince Albert was also able to admire the "Princess of Monaco" rose dedicated to Princess Grace and grown in the Parchi di Nervi rose garden. In 1966, Prince Rainier III and his wife Princess Grace honoured the first edition of this event with their presence. It takes place every five years and brings together several hundred exhibitors from all over the world. Princess Grace returned to visit it in 1971.

The Prince then went to the Giannina Gaslini paediatric hospital to meet the nursing staff and sign the visitors' book before being taken to the Casa Rossa of the Gaslini Band Band Association. Guided by Professor Pierluigi Bruschettini, the Sovereign visited this recently opened home for the families of hospitalised children and met the association's volunteers.

Prince Albert was then welcomed by Prince Domenico Pallavicino, Honorary Consul General of Monaco in Genoa, at his residence for lunch.

In the afternoon, the Sovereign Prince took a private tour of the Villa del Principe. After a presentation of the interior of the palace, the Sovereign took part in a round table discussion during which He was presented with the research work carried out in collaboration with Genoese entities as part of the ongoing restoration of the frescoes in the Palace of Monaco. The historical proximity of the city encourages us to look towards the Ligurian city to try to identify the artists and workshops active in Monaco.

At the end of the day, at the Palazzo Ducale, the Sovereign took part in the 3rd edition of the Festa della Bandiera. At the end of the ceremony, H.S.H. the Prince was awarded citizenship of the municipality of Genoa, after a presentation of the age-old links between Genoa and Monaco by the art historian Mr Giacomo Montanari. The city of Genoa has just joined the Italian association Siti storici Grimaldi di Monaco. Created in 2021, the Federation of Grimaldi Historic Sites, under Monegasque law, which coordinates the actions of Italian and French associations with the same purpose, numbering a hundred or so local authorities, has been chaired by H.S.H. the Prince himself.

During the four days he spent in Italy, in each of these cities, H.S.H. Prince Albert II met many people who had come to welcome him with fervour and enthusiasm. 

Visit of H.S.H. Prince Albert II to Puglia and Genoa