Village of Tende and fortifications remains

The medieval part of the village of Tende develops on both sides of a tributary valley of the Roya west – east, on a steep site.

Accessibility Yes

Visitable Yes

During the second half of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the county of Ventimiglia was caught between the great powers of the Republic of Genoa and Provence. The Counts of Ventimiglia sold their fief to Provence, but this decision was disputed by two family members, Counts Pierre-Balbo and Guillaume-Pierre, who settled in Tende around 1258, to preserve the fiefs located all over peaks towards Piedmont.

After 1388, the county of Nice was attached to Savoy, and the Counts of Tende held the best passage between Nice and Turin. Many convoys made a detour to escape potential insecurity on their land.

In 1575, Tende was finally integrated in Savoy. The town of Tende spread quickly out of the walls, along the new road. The professional fraternities and the Penitents developed; building two new chapels in the village and endowing the collegiate church with richly Baroque decorated altars.
The castle of Tende was destroyed during the French revolutionary occupation.

The whole organization of the medieval village, its fortifications, and its extension along the road, as well as the many Renaissance and Baroque decorations of the gates, chapels and collegiate church, tell the story of the Tendasque community.

The omnipresence of the green stone of Tende in the village, for the decoration of lintels and monuments, as well as for more modest works, pavements and roofs, creates a remarkable singularity in the alleys.

Conditions of visit

The historic village of Tende is bordered by RD 6204 road.

Easy access, several car parks close to RD 6204 road.

Access to some lanes of the village reserved to valid people because of the internal escarpment.




Additional information


  • Banaudo José, Fontaines et lavoirs à Tende, Magazine le Haut-Pays n°50, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 2001.
  • Banaudo José, Les anciens noms des rues de Tende, Magazine le Haut-Pays n°57, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 2003.
  • Banaudo José, Tende : Au temps où les chapelles étaient des chefs d’oeuvres en péril, Magazine le Haut-Pays n°58, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 2003.
  • Beltrutti Giorgio, Tende et La Brigue, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 1988.
  • Dessandier D. avec la collaboration de Laforest C., Panorama des pierres de monuments historiques des Alpes-Maritimes (06). Rapport final. BRGM/RP-66109-FR, 2017.Domerégo Jean Pierre, Tende : Les origines de la cité, Magazine le Haut-Pays n°5, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 1985.
  • Ortolani Marc, Tende 1699-1792, Destin d’une autonomie communale, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 1994.
  • Struyf Philippe, La relation des seigneurs avec la communauté de Tende, Magazine le Haut-Pays n°17, Les Editions du Cabri, Breil-sur-Roya, 1988.

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