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Sospel is a commune and former schismatic episcopal seat in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France near the Italian border and not far from Monte Carlo.History and remainsThe town dates back to the 5th century, when it served as an important staging post on the royal road from Nice to Turin. Its main monument is the former cathedral. The old toll bridge used by travellers to cross the Bévéra, built in the 13th century, still stands. It was bombed by the Germans during World War II to prevent contact between the French Resistance ("The Maquis") and the Italians. Much of the town was destroyed. Renovated after World War II it now houses the tourist office. The ruins of a tower, part of a château (residential castle) belonging to the counts of Provence, are all that remain of the 14th century city walls.Ecclesiastical historyDuring the Western Schism, the Diocese of Ventimiglia (Vintimille in French) was split : the canonical bishop, still residing in Ventimiglia, obedient to the Pope in Rome, controlled the territories dependent of the Italian dogal Republic of Genua, but an uncanonical line of rival anti-bishops (1381-1418), obedient to the Antipope of Avignon, established their schismatical see 'of Ventimiglia' in Sospel(lo), with sway over the diocese's 'French' territories dependent on the County of Savoy and the lordship of Tenda.
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