Cap Martin


Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (Roccabruna-Capo Martino in Italian) is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France between Monaco and Menton. The name was changed from Roquebrune (Rocabruna in local dialect) due to increasing urbanization in the French Riviera.


The commune (originally known as Roccabruna) was founded in 970 by Conrad I, count of Ventimiglia, in order to protect his western border.

In 1355, Roquebrune fell under the control of the Grimaldi family of Monaco for five centuries, during which time the castle was strengthened. The Ligurians were the original population, but they came to speak a dialect similar to that in nearby Monaco (that was somewhat influenced by the original Ligurian language of the area) during those five centuries.

In 1793, Roquebrune became French, but it was returned to Monaco in 1814. In 1848, there was a revolution, with the result that it and Menton became free cities under the protection of the Savoy Prince. They hoped to be part of the Kingdom of Sardinia, but this did not occur, and the towns remained in a state of political limbo until they were finally ceded to France by a plebiscite in 1860.

Giuseppe Garibaldi, who promoted the union of the County of Nice to Italy, complained that the plebiscite was not done with "universal vote" and consequently Roccabruna was requested by the Italian Irredentism. During WWII all the coastal area between Italy and Monte Carlo was occupied and administered by the Kingdom of Italy.

In 1804 Napoleon built a road along the coastline. This road connected the village to the rest of the Cote d'Azur, and eventually led to its merger with the smaller town of Cap-Martin.

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin today

Today Roquebrune-Cap-Martin comprises several villages and towns: St.Roman, practically a suburb of Monaco, the residential areas of Cabbé, Bon Voyage and Serret, Roquebrune with its perched village and château, the posh Cap Martin peninsula and the modern seaside resort of Carnolès with its long pebble beach bordering Menton.


The local dialect actually is linguistically part of the mentonasque of the Païs Mentounasc, a cultural area between the Ligurian dialects and the Occitan language. Since 1861 the use of the French language has increased enormously in the city, and now only a minority of the 11,692 inhabitants still speaks the original dialect of Rocabruna.

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