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Tende (Municipality, Alpes-Maritimes, France)


Last modified: 2003-07-05 by
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[Flag of Tende]by Ivan Sache

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Presentation of the city

Tende (Italian, Tenda) is a village of c. 2,000 inhabitants. Tende is the main village of the upper valley of the river Roya, which remained Italian until 1947. The area around Tende, in the Mercantour/Argentera mountains, was the prefered hunting place of the Italian kings, and were therefore not incorporated to France in 1860 with Savoy and the rest of the County of Nice. On 12 October 1947, the treaty of peace between France and Italy incorporated the upper valley of Roya to France. Since then, the border between the two countries is the same as the geographical border constituted by the watershed.

Located 816 m a.s.l., Tende is the last French village before theborder, and commands the acccess to Cuneo, in Piedmont, via the pass (1,871 m) of Tende, now replaced with a road and railway tunnel. The railway line Nice-Cuneo-Torino was destroyed during the Second World War and was reopened only in the 1980s.

Tende is one of the starting points for treks into the extraordinary Vallée des Merveilles, world-renowed for its wild landscapes and its prehistorical rock engravings, whose symbolics is still a matter of speculation among specialists. Due to an increase in vandalism and looting - some "tourists" used to colour the engravings with ink to have more contrast on their pictures, and there was even an attempt to "steal" a huge engraved rock with an helicopter - the most important rocks have been moved to a museum in Tende and replaced in situ by replicas.

Ivan Sache, 27 April 2002

Description of the flag

According to a TV report (defunct magazine Par là, TMC network), the municipal flag of Tende is a vertical, forked flag, horizontally divided yellow-red. It is a banner of the muncipal arms. I guess that this gonfanon shape, rather unusual in France, denotes the Italian influence.

The town hall of Tende displays on its main balcony a row of five vertical gonfanons representing the history of Tende. The display was explained in the aforementioned program by the Mayor of Tende as follows:

The Mayor did not say what happened to Tende between 1815 and 1870. The County of Nice was then given back to the King of Sardinia, and retroceded to France, except the area surrounding Tende, in 1860.

Ivan Sache, 27 April 2002