Friday’s Tall Tales #4

Whenever I photograph a door I wonder about its provenance, who and what has happened across said door. I thought I might pick one of my doors from #Thursdaydoors and tell you a bit more about it or……maybe even weave a story about it.

Today’s door is one of my favourites in Nice’s Old Town. The building is badly in need of a clean up and seems to largely house those from the legal profession. But, then I noticed, it had a historic plaque naming it Palais Spitalieri de Cessole.

Now known as the Palais d’York, the former Hôtel Spitalieri de Cessole, is an imposing residence in Nice dating from 18th century. Sited on a piece of land located north of Place Saint-Dominique, now Place du Palais, it was owned by the family of the same name, originally from Barcelonnette who had been trading in Nice since 16th century.

The Spitalieri family was allied to other Niçois ones such as the Tonduti de l’Escarène, the Ripert de Montclars, the Raynardis, the Villeneuve-Vences and the Sévignés.

Conférence du Patrimoine « Si les palais nous étaient contés »

in 1755, the head of the Spitalieri family, Honoré François Spitalieri, purchased the title of Count of Cessole and from 1762 – 1768 built a palace on the site as both a home for his family and an investment opportunity by renting out the lower floors. From 1770, the Hotel Spitalieri also housed the French Consulate, that was until the French Revolution.

When the French troops commanded by General d’Anselme entered the county of Nice in September 1792, the Spitalieri family fled only to return after the Battle of Marengo. An order from the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes subsequently lifted the sequestration of their property.

The palace was declared national property during the Revolution and fragmented when it was sold. In particular, part of it became one of the first three hotels for travellers to Nice, the Hôtel d’York.

The Hotel d’York had some notable visitors. It received the Grand Duke Michel in 1837; hosted the 1848 electoral meetings and the political banquets in honour of Giuseppe Garibaldi on his return from America in June 1848; in 1851 Alexandre Dumas stayed there and, in 1860, political meetings and ceremonial dinners were held at the time of annexation.

The building, now divided into private offices, was listed as a historical monument in December 1949.

Originally three storeys high, the facade was raised in 19th century, thus disturbing the building’s symmetry. Its giant doors were once the carriage entrance, dating
from 1766 but whose ironwork is from 19th century. It has a recessed triangular space between the lintel and the arch.decorated with a rococo style medallion, a large cornice supporting a balcony with 18th century ironwork.

Le Palais Spitalieri de Cessole, un foyer de sociabilité niçoise

The door opens onto a fairly wide carriage entrance, covered with three domes on pendentives (a triangular segment filling in the upper corners of a room providing support for a dome) and lined with small sidewalks leading to an interior courtyard. In
the last bay, there is a niche decorated with a stucco shell. A flight of marble steps leads to the vestibule – whose floor is marble tiles with slate stoppers – from where a ramp-on-ramp staircase begins. These common areas have recently been restored and repainted in light colours.





19 Comments on “Friday’s Tall Tales #4

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