Villa Massena, a lavish Second Empire palace (built circa 1900), was donated to Nice by the aristocratic Massena family, to house the city’s Museum of Art and History. A beautiful and intriguing building in itself, the villa’s 20 rooms now retrace the history of Nice through more than 1,500 exhibits – ranging from furniture to decorations and artworks.
Historic figures Napoleon and Garibaldi (the latter born in Nice) get plenty of attention – Napoleon’s letters to his wife Josephine, along with some of her clothes, are particularly interesting – and there are fascinating photos and relics from the resort’s early days.
Getting there & doing it
The museum is handily located just off the Promenade des Anglais; its English-style public gardens were recently restored (along with the villa). See them at their best in spring and summer.
When to do it
The museum is open all year round, Wednesday to Monday. Closed Tuesdays.
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