Nice, the large urban centre of the Côte d'Azur, has always benefited from its exceptional position between the sea and the amphitheatre of the hills. With about 340,000 inhabitants, it is the fifth largest city in France and the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. His stereotyped postcard images are the Promenade des Anglais (English walkway), the wealthy jogging pensioners, the ladies with small dogs on a small leash, the famous Carnival and its battle of flowers...Giuseppe Garibaldi's birthplace.

Why visit Nice?

Panorama della cittàIn addition to the few things mentioned, which for a visit might be enough, Nice is a mundane and seaside resort of all respect, home to a renowned university and several important museums. It stretches along the wide Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels) and is surrounded by green hills and protected to the east by Mont Boron. The current city is no longer the quiet holiday resort for the wealthy Russian aristocrats and northern Europeans who came here to winter than at the end of the 19th century. Nice feels a bit like a small Barcelona, or even a little Miami, with a pleasant mix of fashionable bars, Art Deco buildings and roller skates running along the promenade, glass and steel buildings set against the backdrop of gardens.

Nice is a great modern city with European ambitions, but it is also a city where you can go from the center to the beach in 5 minutes. A city to which history has left many neighborhoods with a strong personality: the old Nice, with its Italian and Ligurian heart, noisy and touristic but everywhere or almost always popular; the Belle Époque buildings in the historical centre; the architectural follies of Carabacel, Cimiez or Monte Boro; a bay surrounded by a revitalized seafront; and a Provencal countryside on the hills.....

Beautiful that you will discover with a new eye, with its new squares, its new neighborhoods that attract not only the inhabitants, habitual but also visitors, seduced by a softness of life without time. Then it is so close to Italy that it can also be an extraordinary base to visit the whole of Provence.

"Nice is like a beautiful woman dressed elegantly in precious evening dresses with a necklace collar made up of several beautiful palaces and gardens. Nice, a city of prosperity and vanity, is the city of fascinating and enjoyable youth, and wealthy maturity "
Ali al-Duagi Around the Mediterranean Cafeterias 1935

A look at the Mediterranean

Nizza davanti al MareThe main resources are tourism (particularly during one of the most important events, the Nice Carnival), the commercial port and markets, flowers and fruit and vegetables. The territory also boasts several food industries (oil, wine, liqueurs, liquors), textiles (silk), tobacco and clothing. The Paillon stream marks the two main areas of Nice: the modern city to the west and the old town with the port to the east. The area has been inhabited since the Stone Age (traces of settlements have been found in some caves of Mont Boron), but the current urban center was founded some time later, by the Greek settlers focesi (350 BC). C. ca) arrived to the coast of France. They gave her the name of Nikata, in honor of the goddess of Victory (Nike). The Romans took over the territory immediately afterwards, moving the first Greek settlement to the hill of Cimiez and giving rise to the city of Cemenelum.

Panorama di Nizza dalla CollinaFrom the 10th century Nice was ruled by the Counts of Provence, and then passed to the Savoys in 1388. With the Treaty of Plombières (1858) and the Treaty of Turin (1860), the city became definitively French. Over the last 400 years, the region of Nice was ruled by France only for two short periods: from 1706 to 1713, during the occupation of the city by Louis XIV, and from 1792 to 1814, when the new French Republic took over control of the area. Garibaldi, the hero of the two worlds, one of the men symbol of the Italian Risorgimento, was originally from Nice and the loss of the city by Italy was a source of great sorrow for him. Garibaldi is dedicated to a beautiful square, Place Garibaldi, built with a typical Piedmontese architecture in the eighteenth century.

Nizza durante la Belle EpoqueA few years after the transition to France, Nice was reached by the railway and became increasingly appreciated by the British royalty and aristocrats, due to the healthy climate and the sea. In those years, along the Promenade des Anglais, and up to Queen Victoria's Palace in Cimiez, numerous buildings were built in Belle Epoque style and the city became the object of a vast urbanization project, transformed into an exotic tasteful place with lush palm trees, reeds and eucalyptus imported from Australia and fantastic buildings in style, such as the Opéra de Nice and the neoclassical Palace of Justice. Artists such as Cézanne, Van Gogh and Matisse began to visit the area, attracted by the beautiful landscapes and the bright light of the many sunny days.

Nizza The first tourist guide of the territory of Nice was published in 1887, by a lawyer with poetic aspirations who coined the name with which the area is still known today, Côte d'Azur. In the 1920s, the area once again became a mecca for artists and writers (including Hernest Hemingway, Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Aldous Huxley and Thomas Mann). In 1922, the luxurious Train Bleu made its first run from Calais in northern France to the French Riviera via Paris, and in 1927 the first casino on the Promenade was opened in the Palais de la Méditerranée in 1927. Jazz soon arrived in the city and Nice became famous for its nightlife. The city went through a period of decline between the two World Wars and was replaced on several other occasions by the sandy beaches of other coastal resorts (one of them, Cannes), a summer tourism destination that was emerging after the First World War. Only after the Second World War was the city able to get to know a period of rebirth again, after the bad reputation that political corruption and organised crime of the casinos had attributed to it.

Nizza La Nizza odierna è un concentrato di Belle Epoque e modernità. La città vecchia (Vieille ville) è percorsa da stradine tortuose che sfociano in vivaci piazze barocche. Il suo cuore è Cours Saleya, nel ‘700 la passeggiata dell'alta società e oggi sede del mercato dei fiori, sicuramente il più noto tra i vari mercati di antiquariato, alimentari e chincaglierie che animano questa la zona. La città vecchia custodisce numerosi edifici e chiese che risalgono soprattutto al periodo Barocco e tra le tante si segnalano in particolare la chiesa di Sainte Réparate, dedicata alla patrona della città, e la chiesa di Saint Jacques. Ad est, la città vecchia si addossa alla Colline du Château (collina del castello), dove i gli antichi costruirono l'Acropoli e i Savoia la fortezza, andata poi distrutta da Luigi XIV; ai suoi piedi si apre il porto, occupato da pescherecci e fiancheggiato da caffè e ristoranti. Al di là di questo, nel quartiere Limpya, troviamo il Musée de Terra Amata, il Museo Archeologico di Nizza che raccoglie reperti dell'antico stanziamento del paleolitico inferiore, scoperto sul Mont Beron nel 1966.

Nizza Today's Nice is a concentration of Belle Epoque and modernity. The old town (Vieille ville) is crossed by winding streets that lead to lively baroque squares. Its heart is Cours Saleya, in the 1700s the walk of the high society and today seat of the flower market and also (Monday) of the most famous among the various markets of antiques, food and trinkets that animate this area (see Flowers Market in Cours Saleya). The old town houses many buildings and churches that date back to the Baroque period, and among the many are the church of Sainte Réparate, dedicated to the patron saint of the city, and the church of Saint Jacques. To the east, the old town leans against the Colline du Château (hill of the castle), where the ancients built the Acropolis and the Savoy fortress, later destroyed by Louis XIV; at its feet the port opens up, occupied by fishing boats and flanked by cafes and restaurants. Beyond this, in the Limpya district, we find the Musée de Terra Amata, the Archaeological Museum of Nice, which collects finds from the ancient Early Palaeolithic collection, discovered on the Mont Beron in 1966.

The centre of Nice is represented by Place Masséna, built in the 18th century. The square, together with the Promenade du Paillon that leads to the MAMAC (Musée d' Art Moderne et d' Art Contemporain) and the Acropolis Congress Centre,, marks the border of the nineteenth-century city with the Vieille Villas. A symbol of the Belle Epoque period is the Promenade des Anglais, the city's seafront promenade. Inaugurated in 1822, as part of a public works project funded by an English shepherd, it was expanded in 1844 and baptized under its current name. As evidence of the' grandeur' of the avenue's past (many buildings have been demolished), the Westminster and West End hotels, the Palais de la Méditerranée and above all the famous Hôtel Negresco (1912), whose dome has become the symbol of Nice, remain.

Nizza - MatisseThe Nice Museums are also numerous and interesting. In addition to the two mentioned above, there are also the Musée d' Art et d' Histoire, Musée des Beax-Arts Jules Chéret (with a rich collection on the 17th century), Musée International d'Art Naïf Anatole Jakovsky, Musée du Message Biblique Marc Chagall (the most important permanent exhibition of works by the artist), Musée d'Archéologie and Musée Magall. The latter is located in the aristocratic district of Cimiez, in the same place where the remains of a Roman amphitheatre, Roman baths (3rd century), a Basilica and a Baptistery of the 5th century were brought to light. The olive grove behind the archaeological site offers an evocative backdrop to the July Jazz Music Festival. Nearby there is a sixteenth-century monastery, Cosa vedere a Nizzafrom which you can admire beautiful views of the bay; inside there are some magnificent works of art and in its cemetery are buried painters Henri Matisse and Raoul Dufy. Visit the small museum that traces the history of Franciscan monks. The Sophia-Antipolis Science and Technology Park, Europe's largest science and technology park, which brings together more than 1200 international high-tech companies, is also worth a visit. Even the Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Nicolas, the largest Russian Orthodox building erected abroad, cannot fail to be visited (in the nineteenth century Nice was not only in the center of the English aristocratic holiday resort, but also in the Russian one).

Nice is a city to be discovered slowly, a short stay is not enough. It often becomes a passing city for those who from its international airport head to the famous small towns of the Riviera. Despite being the sixth largest city in France, Nice's atmosphere is never too metropolitan. It will be the sea, that breeze that comes from afar, the oriental silhouettes.... Nissa la Bella (in dialect) will never stop enchanting the souls of travelers.

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