Was Nice ever Italian?

It is a question that we are often asked, even by those who have lived in the city for more than 10 years. The quick answer is no. Nice was never Italian. Yet the administrative language of government in Nice was Italian and the local people spoke Nissart, a dialect of Occitan. During the time of the County of Savoy, which eventually became the Kingdom of Piedmont, there were two administrative languages. In the North it was French and in the South it was Italian. Italian was the language of Dante and so many other well known intellectuals and the elite wanted to orient themselves to its geographically Italian past. You see, prior to becoming part of Savoy, Nice was part of the Kingdom of Naples! Its Queen was named Joanna, and when she died (or was murdered) without a heir in 1388, a civil war began. Nice chose to leave the fighting to others and sought temporary protection from the Duke of Savoy. (The Map shows us all of the territory of the Kingdom of Naples in the fourteenth century).