We discovered the Place Garibaldi from the first minutes in Nice, while travelling from the airport to the hotel.
Being a large rectangular square, the Place is always a busy and crowded environment with both locals and tourists. Its Baroque architecture with arcaded buildings brings in a lot of bright colours, which makes the square an unforgettable space, under the Mediterranean light.
Designed by architect Spinelli at the end of the 18th century, the Place Garibaldi is one of the oldest squares in Nice, with a splendid running fountain in its centre.
The Place was renamed several times, as it witnessed a number of historical events. First name was Pairoliera, then King Victor Amedée III, the Republic Square (during the revolution) and Napoleon Square. Other denominations, in chronological order: Place d’Armes, Place St. Augustin, again Napoleon Square, once Nice came back under French administration.
In 1870 the Place got the current name, Garibaldi, to remember a hero, who was born in Nice and who belonged to two worlds, according to historians. We saw somewhere in a brochure that he felt neither French nor Italian, but belonging to Nice first. That makes Nice’s inhabitants very proud of their local culture and history.
The statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi is in the middle of the fountain and in front of the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre (Chapelle du Saint Sepulcre). The statue, authored by Antoine Etex, represents Garibaldi, along with two bronze symbolic figures of France and Italy. Two lions guard the statue sides.
The square has also got a number of typical restaurants on its two sides. The line of a modern tramway crosses the square and makes the other parts of the city easily accessible by public transport. From here one can easily reach other famous touristic points such as the Promenade des Anglais, Nice Port, Place Massena and the Old Nice.
If there are no seats at a restaurant, benches are available to admire the square while sitting.