A little history of Bellanda tower
A place full of events
Bellanda’s name was mentioned since the Middle-Ages, it was the name of former Nice castle.
The tower is the only vestige of this fortress: the other towers, Malbouche, Mauvoisin, Maubuysson were destroyed. But several stories took place in the Bellanda...
• The tower inspired artist: Berlioz composed here the opening of his "King Lear". German composer Giacomo Meyerbeer, when he came in Nice, wrote his "Robert the Devil" in 1831.
•Tragic stories took place here: do you know admiral de Coligny’s widow (Protestant chief who was murdered during the Saint-Bartholomew’s Day Massacre), Jacqueline d’Entremonts, was locked here for 2 long years?
• In 1537, duke Charles II of Savoy and his wife Béatrix of Portugal took shelter in the tower during the war between king of France François I and emperor Charles the Fifth: their son Emmanuel-Philibert was born here!
Prudent, the duke hid all his treasures, his jewels... especially the Holy Shroud relic! Brought from Turino in Italy by the city archbishop, it was given to duke of Savoie...They exhibited it one fine day of 1537, at the top of the tower, in the eyes of strollers!
The castle of Nice
Primitively, we have here a keep raised in 1176 by Ildephonse of Aragon. Destroyed by Genovese, reraised in 1229 by count of Provence Raymond Bérenger, Amédée VII and Amédée VIII moved in here.
In 1440, governor from Nice Nicod of Menthon raised, to the north of the hill, a long wall flanked by 3 towers (mentioned above).
To the south was the big Bellanda tower, also known at that time as tour du Môle (Jetty's tower) then St-Elme's tower: they built the current belvedere in the 19th century, upon that tower.
In the middle of the 16th century, they extended the walls. They were actually pretty vast! Just imagine: we had 3 churches in these walls: St-Mary-of-the-Square, St-Michel and St-Mary-of-Plane-Stone. We also found an 80 metres deep well, dug in 1517 by engineer André Bergante.
A good way to bring water in the place, in case of sieges! Filled in 1706, used by soldiers during the French Revolution, they definitively filled in 1830.
In 1691, during Nice siege, a bomb fell in the keep and a half of the castle exploded: oh, anyway, in 1706, king Louis XIV razed the place... That was the end of the proud castle of Nice!
The Bellanda tower nowadays houses the Marine museum. And on the foundation of the castle, a nice Romantic castle was laid out on the hill...