Place Garibaldi Nice France Giuseppe Garibaldi

One of the major historical figures of Italian history was born in Nice, France. A few days after the end of Second French Empire in 1870, the square before you now was renamed in his honour. As many times as the city of Nice switched hands, the Place Garibaldi changed names. Nice was part of France from 1793 to 1814, but was given back to the Duchy of Savoy following the restoration of the French monarchy. One of Napoleon III's hopes during his support of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia in 1859-60 was the return of Nice and Savoy. He achieved his goal via a treaty in March 1860 and a plebiscite in April 1860.

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The square was originally called Pairoliera, as it was located at the end of a street called Pairoliera. The square was renamed King Victor Amadeus III, who had unsuccessfully fought French troops from 1792 to 1796. It was known as the Place de la Republique prior to the First French Empire. Between 1801 and 1860, the name switched between Napoleon and Victor Amadeus III on multiple occasions. Popular pressure led to it being named after one of its most famous sons on September 13 1870.

Giuseppe Garibaldi was born in Nice in 1807 to a Genovan family. You can find a reconstruction of his home on the quay Papacino. He was buried here upon his death in 1882.

We must thank Antonio Spinelli who built the church Our Lady of the Assumption between 1764 and 1778 for this square. If you have been to Turin and Coni, you will recognize some of their style here as Spinelli based his plan on them. Near its entrance, you will hard pressed to not see the beautiful front of the Saint Sepulchre Chapel known as the Archiconfrerie des Penitents Bleus. In its centre stands the statue of Garibaldi.

The statue was commissioned in 1877 and inaugurated in 1891. The sculptor was Antoine Etex who was helped by one of his students Gustave Deloye and is most famous for his pieces Resistance and Peace on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Standing on a pedestal in a fountain, the statue is looking towards Italy and is wearing his famous red shirt. The two bronze figures are representations of France and Italy, right and left respectively. A lion protects each side representing his sons, Menotti and Riciotti, and is astride a cannon symbolizing the 1860 expedition of 1000 on the left and the 1870 campaigns against Prussia on the right.

The name of Giuseppe Garibaldi is forever associated with the Risorgimento period during which modern Italy was created out of the wars involving Austria, Piedmont-Sardinia, the Papal States and other smaller cities in the Italian peninsula. Beginning in 1859, France was helping the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia build modern Italy, and once Garibaldi with his legion of Italian patriots known as the Red Shirts conquered the Kingdom of Two Sicilies in the south and unified it with the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia in 1860, the goal was achieved.


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