Chateaux of Alpes-Maritimes

Musée Picasso

The Musée Picasso, formerly the Château Grimaldi at Antibes, is built upon the foundations of the ancient Greek town of Antipolis. The castle was a residence of the bishops in the Middle Ages (from 442 to 1385). The castle was moved in 1385 to the Monegasque family. In 1608 it became a stronghold of the Grimaldi family and has borne their name ever since. In 1702 it became the town hall of Antibes. From 19 ...
Founded: 11th century / 1966 (museum) | Location: Antibes, France

Musée de la Castre

An attack by the Saracens in 891, who remained until the end of the 10th century, devastated the country around current Cannes. The insecurity of the Lérins islands forced the local monks to settle on the mainland, at the Suquet (today the old town). Construction of a castle in 1035 fortified the city by then known as Cannes. The castle was damaged in end of the 16th century and partially demolished in the 18th centu ...
Founded: 1035 | Location: Cannes, France

Château Grimaldi

The Château Grimaldi at Cagnes-sur-Mer is built on the site of an earlier fortress occupied by the Greeks and then the Romans. The present castle was built in 1309 by Rainier Grimaldi (Lord of Cagnes and an admiral of France) - a distant ancestor of the present ruling house of Monaco. Later it became the residence of the Governors of the province. Following the French Revolution, it was used as barracks ...
Founded: 1309 | Location: Cagnes-sur-Mer, France

Château de Gourdon

Château de Gourdon was built in the 12th century on the foundations of 9th century fort when the counts of Provence organized their border between the county of Vintimille and Provence. From 1598 to 1905 the castle was the residence of the Marquis de Montauroux. The current castle was built in the 17th century, the first stage in 1610 and the second in 1653.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gourdon, France

Château de la Napoule

The Château de la Napoule was constructed in the 14th century by the Countess of Villeneuve. Over the centuries it was rebuilt several times. In the 19th century it was turned into a glass factory. In 1918, it was purchased by Americans, Henry Clews Jr. and Marie Clews (1880-1959), who restored and moved into the castle. They added additional sections in their own personal style, with sculptures by Henry Clews Jr. The ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Mandelieu-la-Napoule, France

Château de Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

Conrad I, Count of Vintimiglia, built the castle in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in 970 to defend the Western border of his feudal domain from attack by hordes of Saracens that rampaged around the area. Initially the entire village was encompassed by the castle. The keep's military strength was reinforced in the 15th century by the Grimaldi family. In 1808  the castle was sold as a Bien National to five Roquebrune inhabitant ...
Founded: 970 AD | Location: Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France

Château de La Brigue

Château de La Brigue was built by the Ventimiglia family between 1376-1379. In 1543 small bastions were added to the main building. An earthquake partially destroyed the castle in 1546, but it was used to resist a Genoese attack in 1625. The castle was set on fire by the French troops during the French revolution in 1794 and since it has been lying in ruins.
Founded: 1376-1379 | Location: La Brigue, France

Château de Carros

Château de Carros is a jewel of 12th century Provençal architecture, characterized by a rectangular main building with four towers in the corners. The first owner was Lord Rostaing de Carros (mentioned 1156), but soon after the castle was moved to the hands of De Placas family who owned it over 600 years. Since 1998 the castle has housed CIAC, International Center of Contemporary Art.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Carros, France

Château de Gréolières

Château de Gréolières was mentioned first time in 1047 when it belonged to the Viscounts of Nice. Counts of Provence decided at the end of the 12th  century to enforce eastern part of Provence against the influence of the Republic of Genoa and local nobility. To control the area of Gréolières, the Count of Provence built the new castle around 1220. In 1235 Count of Provence gave the castle to Romée de Ville ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Gréolières, France

Château de Tourrette-Levens

The modest-sized castle Château de Tourrette-Levens dates back to the 12th century. It overlooks the ancient 'salt road'. The castle was buily by Raymond Chabaud whose family owned the estate until 1684. The castle was one of the finest in the region with six towers. Only one tower survives. Today it hosts a museum devoted to entomology.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tourrette-Levens, France

Château de Gilette

Château de Gilette was built at the latest in the 13th century. It stands on a rocky spur overlooking the village. The castle was besieged and conquered several times in the 16th century. The last military action was Battle of Gilette on 18 and 19 October 1793.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Gilette, France

Château de Villeneuve-Loubet

Château de Villeneuve-Loubet, property of the Panisse-Passis family, is a superb 13th-century defensive structure, with a pentagonal keep. It was built in the 13th century, at the instigation of the Counts of Provence and Romeo of Villeneuve. Ramparts and parapet walks are punctuated with five round towers and a mediaeval drawbridge. French King Francis I stayed there in 1538 to sign the Truce of Nice with the Emperor Ch ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Villeneuve-Loubet, France

Château Saint-Jeannet

The Château Saint-Jeannet is a notable French castle located about 10km northwest of Nice. Tradition tells that the site was used as a fortress as early the 9th and 10th centuries. However, the earliest known construction on the château hill can only be dated to the 11th century. Written records of a château on the site date to the 13th century. Since that time, it has been effectively destroyed and rebuilt severa ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Saint-Jeannet, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Palazzo Colonna

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.