La Turbie

The village of La Turbie with the Roman monument "Le Trophée des Alpes" and the Church of Archangel St. Michael rising up from the center

High above Monaco is one of the finest views on the Riviera, reached by a stretch of the Grande Corniche which crosses ravines and tunnels through mountains. The charming old village of La Turbie, scented with jasmine and bougainvillea, still retains two medieval gateways. Its oldest houses, which date fro the 11th-13th centuries, are on the Roman via Julia.

The Roman monument "Le Trophée des Alpes", along with Eglise St-Michel Archangel above the village of La Turbie

The most spectacular feature of La Turbie is the Trophée des Alpes, a huge Roman monument, built out of white local stone, which marked the division between Italy and Gaul. It was constructed in 6 BC to honor Emperor Augustus's victory in 13 BC over 44 fractious Ligurian tribes. When the Romans left, the trophy was gradually dismantled. In the 4th century, St. Honorat chipped away at the monument because it had become the object of pagan worship. Later it served both as a fort and as a stone quarry. It was partly destroyed on the orders of Louis XIV, who feared it would fall into enemy hands during the invasion of Provence by Savoy in 1707. Restoration was first begun in 1905, and continued in 1923 by an American, Edward Tuck. Today, the triumphal inscription recording the names of the 44 tribes subjugated by Augustus has been restored to its original position.

Among visitors impressed with La Turbie and its trophy, was the poet Dante (1265-1321), and his comments are inscribed on a plaque in rue Comte-de-Cessole. From the end of this street, there is a fine view of the monument.

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