Introduction to Monte Carlo

Believe it or not Monte Carlo isn’t just a delicious biscuit. It’s is also a glitzy, glamorous district in the teeny tiny Principality of Monaco – the second-smallest independent state in the world (after Vatican City). Despite being small in size, Monaco has a pretty big history.

In 1297, the first family member of the current monarchy, Francois Grimaldi, disguised himself as a monk and led an army to the fortress of Monaco and reclaimed it from the Italians. Over the next few centuries, the country prospered and in 1604, Lord Honore gave himself a new title of Prince Honore, establishing the monarchy. The French Revolution made things less fun for the Grimaldis and in 1861, Monaco had to give away half of its territory to France in exchange for money and independence.

At the time this seemed kind of unfortunate, especially when Prince Charles III realised they’d given away a major money-maker for the country as many of the natural resources had been on that land. So, the prince put his thinking cap on and decided the answer to their economic woes was to turn Monaco into a tourism and gambling mecca, establishing a theatre, a handful of hotels and a casino in 1863. And that’s the Monte Carlo you know and love today. So, not such a bad thing after all!

Monaco was even once the home of classic screen goddess Grace Kelly. Or should we say Princess Grace, who married Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Today, Monaco still has a monarchy with Grace and Rainier’s son, Prince Albert II, as the country’s reigning monarch. In addition to royal life, Monte Carlo has always inspired images of hedonism, luxury and excitement. People from all over the world are drawn to the beguiling city for its exciting casino, world-class events and lavish beaches. BYO Ferrari if you can!

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