The city of Nice was founded by the Greek in 350 BC and was given the name Nikaia in honor of a victory that the Greek gained against the neighboring Ligurians (Nike is the Greek goddess of victory indeed). The city turned to be one of the most important and busy trading ports in the Ligurian sea and in the 7th Century joined the Genoese League formed by the towns of Liguria and actively participated in the wars and history of Italy. Nice fought against Genoa as an ally of Pisa, then it fell more than once into the hands of the Counts of Provence but finally remained independent even if related to Genoa.
Towards the end of the 14th Century, Nice placed itself under the protection of the Counts of Savoy and it passed from French, Franco-Ottoman and Italian dominion during the successive centuries, it eventually ended to be part of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia from 1814. From 1860, after the Treaty of Turing, Nice was again and definitely ceded to France as a territorial reward for French assistance in the Second Italian War of Independence against Austria.
Today Nice is the 6th most populous city in France and even though its international airport is quite small, it’s one of the most popular in the country. The runaway is off-shore and the first time I landed in this airport I thought we were landing in the sea by mistake. The organization of the airport is excellent and usually you’ll be able to pass the customs and get your luggage within half an hour. The airport has ample availability of paid parking, taxis and bus shuttles to ease pick up and drop off operations. It is perfectly located close to the “promenade des Anglais” and the highway.
Coming from the airport, at the end of the “Promenade des Anglais” there is the old town together with the ruins of the ancient castle that definitely are worth paying a visit. You might park your car (if you have a friend picking you up or you have rented one) in the numerous parking available withing the old city. They usually offer parking for free for the first hour and then they charge an average of 2 Euro per hour. The Castle Hill is a must see because from the top of the hill you can enjoy the mesmerizing landscape that the city has to offer.
The old town offers many things to do: shopping, dining, historical exploring and so more. It is easy to spend few hours wandering around and enjoying a meal and a drink in the old town city center without feeling the time passing. Just outside the old town starts the ‘new nice city center’ that offers high end and souvenirs shopping options and many more restaurants, cafeterias and pizzeria.
Place Massena is the most popular rendez-vous point in the city center and it is very close to the old town and easily reachable by walk from the Promenade des Anglais. It usually offer free entertaining options and an astonishing view.
There are still many things to write and say about Nice, but I stuck to what we have seen in that day only.