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Tende (in Italian, Occitan and Royasc: Tenda) is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimesmarker department in south-eastern Francemarker.

Geography

Tende is located within Mercantour National Parkmarker in the French Alps. The mountainous commune is bordered by Italymarker to the north, with the boundary determined by the watershed line between the two countries. This line of mountain tops contains more than 20 summits exceeding 2,000 meters (6,562 feet).

A large rectangle of land running east/west, Tende is split from north to south by the Roya rivermarker valley. The tributary Réfréi river joins the Roya within the limits of Tende.

The Col de Tendemarker (Tende Pass), a strategic pass through the Alps to Piedmont, has been modernized to be a road and railway tunnel.

History

Known to be a populated place in 690, it is unclear when Tende first became an organized settlement. Prehistoric rock engravings have been found in the area, which are now on display in the Musée des Merveilles or in situ.

Today, Tende is a medieval village of tumultuous history, having belonged successively to the Count of Ventimigliamarker in the tenth century, then the Counts of Provence and the Counts of Lascaris before being swapped several times between Italy and France. First to the Duchy of Savoy, then the French Republic (later Napoleonic Empire), then restored to the Savoyard Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont (which became in 1861 the Kingdom of Italymarker).

From 1861 to 1947 Tende was part of Italy, and was damaged during the Italian invasion of France in 1940. Tende was the last commune to join the French Republic in 1947, when Italymarker was forced to cede (after defeat in World War II) some alpine areas to France.

The hillside village is overlooked by the spire-like remnants of the main turret of the castle of the Lascaris, which was built in the 14th century as protection from the attacking Count of Provence, Charles d'Anjou. The castle was destroyed in 1692 when King Louis XIV ordered his Marshal, Catinat, to destroy all fortified structures in France that might challenge his rule. The only complete structure that remains is a circular tower, transformed into a clock during the 19th century. The tolling of the clock's bells can be heard day and night throughout Tende.

Tende is located on what was once an important route of the salt trade between Italy and France. During their reign of Tende, the Lascaris would demand a toll of those transporting salt and others passing through the region.

Culture

While the main language of Tende is French, most of Tende's residents also speak Tendasque (which can also refer to the villagers themselves), a variety of Ligurian language with Provençal influences. The dialect Tendasque has many similarities with the Mentonasque of the coast.
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Among the village's youth, this language is less prevalent (about 30%), while many of them speak Italian.

The village recently began celebrating a series of festivals during the summer, each dedicated to an aspect of local culture. One such festival celebrates the Old Tende (the medieval section), and on the second Sunday of each July, a long-standing festival is held in honor of Saint Eloi, patron saint of the village.

Sugelli, a distinctive pasta with a thumb print indentation is a local specialty.

At the base of the hillside town is a public swimming pool, built around the turn of the millennium.

A via ferrata along the tops of the village's mountains attracts climbers. The trail head can be accessed from near the base of the town clock.

Economy

  • Three hydroelectric power stations
  • Breeding of cows and sheep
  • Cheeses, honey and jams
  • Old crystal mine


Transportation

Tende has a train station on the Nicemarker/Ventimigliamarker-Breil-Cuneomarker line run by the SNCF, with connecting service from Nice in the southwest to Turinmarker to the north. A special tourist train, the Train des Merveilles, makes a single daily run from Nice to Tende.

See also



References



External links




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