Overlooking the Principality of Monaco at 1,150m, like a balcony hanging over the Mediterranean, the little town of La Turbie seems to float in the sky, dominated by its gigantic Trophée d'Auguste (35 metres high!).
Built 2,000 years ago by the Romans to the glory of Emperor Augustus, the conqueror of the last Ligurian tribes, the Trophée d'Auguste originally stood 49 metres high and was topped by a giant statue of the Emperor.
Located at La Turbie, on the Alpis Summa, the border between Gaul and Italy and a strategic point on the Aurelian Way, it celebrated the unity and power of the Roman Empire. It was used as a fortress in the 12th century, dismantled by Louis XIV, and was then transformed into a ... stone quarry. It was subsequently restored by a generous American donor called Edward Tuck.
It is the pride of the town, and a visit to the Trophée and its small Auguste museum is a must.
You will learn that the monument consisted of a round tower surrounded by Doric columns, built on a square platform bearing the names of the 44 peoples subdued during the Augustus campaign.
Today all that remains is a fraction of the tower with its columns and niches where the statues where placed. Nonetheless they are imposing remains, still very impressive for anybody who has a little imagination!
At the foot of the Trophée, the village of La Turbie has preserved the charm of its glorious past virtually intact, in a harmonious mixture of styles - medieval, classical and baroque.