The County of Nice lies at the extreme south east corner of France between the Mediterranean and the Alps. However, it has more historical links with Italy than it does with France. See map.
It was known as the Contea di Nizza in Italian since Medieval times and originally inhabited by Ligurian tribes. It soon became much sought after by the Romans and eventually conquered by the Emperor Augustus whose magnificent Trophy stands proudly at La Turbie.
During the Middle Ages the area thrived as a semi-autonomous province. Later it became part of the Duchy of Savoy (part of Piedmont-Sardinia) and finally became the County of Nice.
The County remained attached to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia until 1860. Ceded to France following a plebiscite in which the great majority voted to join France, this sealed its future. It happened despite the fact that the great Nice born Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi, opposed secession on the grounds that the city was essentially Italian! The Upper Roya and Upper Vésubie Valleys however, remained part of the King of Sardinia’s hunting grounds until 1946/7.
The County of Nice has remained firmly part of France ever since except during WWII when it reverted to Italy. It soon became the arrondissement of Nice (one of the two arrondisements of the Alpes-Maritimes) and continues to distinguish itself from its neighbour, Provence.