Monaco's beautiful location, natural harbor, exceptionally mild climate, and gambling tables in Monte Carlo make it one of the best-known resorts of the Riviera. Almost half of the mainly Roman Catholic population are French, while about 16% are citizens of Monaco and an equal number are Italian. French is the official language, but English, Italian, and Monegasque (a Romance dialect similar to Provençal) are also widely spoken.
The casino contains a theater, which houses the Monte Carlo Opera. Monaco has a 16th-century palace, a 19th-century cathedral in the Byzantine style, and a noted oceanographic museum, founded in 1910 by Prince Albert I. Auto racing is popular, and Monaco is home to both the Monte Carlo Rally and the Monaco Grand Prix. The Monte Carlo Open is a major professional tennis tournament.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.